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Homelessness still rampant in New Orleans 7 years after Katrina

Ralph Paze, who is homeless, lives in an abandoned building in New Orleans and collects cans to earn money. Photo by David Grunfeld of McClatchy Newspapers.

Seven years after Hurricane Katrina homelessness continues to be a major problem in New Orleans, with search-and-rescue teams working to help people living in abandoned buildings, according to this article in the Seattle Times.

One of the members of the Unity of Greater New Orleans team includes social worker Mike Miller, MSW, who tries to persuade people living in sweltering, unsanitary and unsafe abandoned buildings to move into subsidized housing.

“They keep pulling out really, really disabled, elderly people from these buildings, and as long as they’re doing that I’m not going to tell them to stop,” said Martha Kegel, director of Unity.

The number of people who are homeless in New Orleans has dropped but affordable housing continues to be a major issue. The Hurricane wiped out a a large segment of available housing and rent is now 47 percent higher than pre-Katrina levels although wages remain the same.

Families living in more crowded conditions also find themselves unable to care for relatives who may be disabled or mentally ill, the article said. These relatives may end up homeless.

To learn more about about how social workers help people who are homeless read “Family Safety Real Life Stories: From Homeless to Independent Living” at the National Association of Social Workers’ Help Starts Here website by clicking here.

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