Skip Nav
9 Signs of a Man Who Will Never Stop Loving You
Game of Thrones
A "Sexy Jon Snow" Halloween Costume For Women Exists, Because of Course It Does
17 GIFs That Prove Why Jon Snow and Daenerys Need to Happen

New Orleans Locals Still Homeless After Katrina

A unique homelessness situation confronts post-Katrina New Orleans. A recent survey conducted by advocacy groups shows that a majority of the homeless were residents of New Orleans before the hurricane, and lost their jobs and homes as a result.

Figures cited in today's New York Times include:

  • 86 percent of homeless are from the New Orleans area.
  • 60 percent cite Hurricane Katrina as the cause of their homelessness, while 30 percent said they received assistance from FEMA at one time.
  • 80 percent have at least one physical disability, 58 percent have had some kind of addiction, 40 percent are mentally ill, and 19 percent deal with all three issues.
  • The number of homeless has doubled since Katrina, according to rough estimates.

For an more in depth look at the problem,


One HIV-positive New Orleans native told the paper that he wasn't homeless until Hurricane Katrina. He receives $637 per month in disability income, not enough to pay rent. Despite a rise in need, there has been a decline in resources. Before Katrina, the city had 2,800 shelter beds, now it has 2,000. In addition, FEMA federal trailer parks that house many Hurricane Katrina victims are scheduled to close May 31.

In his new book, President Bush's former press secretary called Katrina "one of the worst disasters in our nation's history" and "one of the biggest disasters in Bush's presidency." Now more than three years later, the local community still faces the difficulty brought by lack of resources.

Do you consider New Orleans' homeless predicament a national or local problem? How can we get those more vulnerable in a crisis — such as the mentally ill, disabled, and drug addicted — back on their feet? Should Congress adopt legislation that would provide $76 million in rent subsidies and services to disabled homeless people in the city, as passed by the Senate last week?


Join The Conversation
CrazySexyCool CrazySexyCool 8 years
Hypno: I have thought about your comments. But lets re-read the article fine print shall we? Only 60% of the people who are homeless site Katrina as the reason. That means 40% are homeless on their own accord! That is NOT a narrow slice. And I would bet anything that at least half of all the people are just saying that they are homeless because of Katrina as it provides them extra aid and sympathy. Let's look at the proof... 58% of the homeless suffer from addiction. That is a self induced problem, does that sound like people who are lacking opportunity? Hell no! These people are spending their time getting high or drunk. They would rather wallow in pity and poverty and get handouts then do something about their problem. That is why 3 years has gone by and they are still homeless! It is NOT the responsibility of our government to create homes and jobs for us. "Ask NOT what our country can do for you, but what YOU can do for your country." As for the people who will not leave. Then you are on your own. If I lived in a desert, I wouldn't be bitching about my crops not growing. I would just move to where they did grow. These people are daft for staying when there is so much opportunity else where in the country. Homes are selling for $1000 to $10,000 where I live. This guy who receives $637 for disability income could own a house outright where I am!!! This may seem harsh to many of you. But I have lived through my home being destroyed by a flood, and a second home burning down. So I do have some perspective. I lived in homeless shelters as a child while my parents looked for work. And it taught me some valuable lessons. My home town in PA was decimated when the local factories all shut down during the 90's. And I lost everything again as I was self employed and I depended on those workers for my income. Did I stay and wallow in poverty in any of these situations? No. I picked myself back up, and I went on. I am harsh because I know, in my heart of hearts. That if I had lived in New Orleans during Katrina, I would not be homeless living under a bridge today.
pinky8486 pinky8486 9 years
There are special circumstances for many people. NEW ORLEANS is an amazing city and I would never want to leave. Most of these people are doing the best they can and do not want to leave their HOME. Whatever the reasons for their being homeless, they need help.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
when Homestead was leveled from Andrew you didnt see a bunch of homeless people milling about wondering what to do. they left...found other jobs and moved on.
syako syako 9 years
I'm glad you visited jan! We definitely need more tourists. I just hate that misinformation gets out when really things have been done and a lot of places are functioning rather normally, I just don't want people to read things on blogs/forums that say it's so dangerous, no one lives there, everyone has moved out, when that really isn't the case... Yes we still need help. But we really need our economy revived, which means we need more tourists. So let's not scare people away! Hots where are those statistics from? I'm not aware of that fact and would like to see the numbers, thanks!
janneth janneth 9 years
I must say, though, that the people are absolutely the friendliest (I was just a visitor, Sy), and most of the city is still beautiful, more beautiful than most other cities.
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
Another important point that shouldn't be overlooked is that those people who are homeless a lot of them DO work! They work and are still homeless because they can't afford a place to live! The price of rent there can now nearly rival Manhattan its absolutely ridiculous. The prices for apartments there have sky rocketed multiple times of what it used to be. People are being taken advantage of and should not be looked at as lazy!
pinky8486 pinky8486 9 years
I live in New Orleans and it is a tragedy what is going on here. Times are tough in New Orleans...I'm sure many of them had/would work but for various reasons are not able to. Of course there are some people who lack the motivation, but for the most part these people have the motivation but are still struggling. Then there's the fighting with Road Home grants, insurance companies, etc that are making things even more rough. Also, I think many people think there is just one/a few areas in New Orleans that are devastated when really there is the ninth ward, st. bernard, lake view, gentilly and several other areas. Then, there is Mississippi's Gulf Coast who has largely been ignored. Those cities got the CAT 5 storm or the "big one". My family had a home there and it is nothing but a aunt still lives in a trailer. Honestly, there are just SO MANY problems its overwhelming. Its going to take several decades to revive new orleans and the rest of the gulf coast.
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
It's easy to look down on others who struggle after disaster hits until it happens to you and your family one day! You have additional strikes against you if your homeless as far as finding a job. It's hard to apply for a job with no address. I dare anyone to try it and see how far they get. Then your other option is to live in temporary housing that will make you and and your children sick for the rest of your lives! This is a national disgrace! We look at how other countries treat their people everyday and criticize them and look at how we treat our own. We call them refugees and allow insurance companies to screw them over and if that isn't enough some still look down on them as they still struggle. SAD!
nicachica nicachica 9 years
you're just laying the smack down but oh-so-nicely. ;)
nicachica nicachica 9 years
:woohoo: Hypno, you are so awesome!
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
The homeless situation in LA is a national problem, because the administrations response to Katrina is very telling of why their response may be if a disaster hits your neighborhood. CrazySexyCool: I see your perspective as it relates to flounders who otherwise just might have found themselves homeless regardless of a natural disaster or not. However, that is a very narrow slice apart from the rest of the pie that the article is addressing. We are addressing here an issue where we have thousands displaced not by choice or lack of a good work ethic but by a natural disaster that has striped them of home, work, school, transportation etc. In regards to the jobs available not everyone is qualified for just any job so it's not like find a slot and jump in. In light of the circumstances it is simply unfair to treat these victims as common street folk just looking for a hand out. They're not looking for a hand out, just a hand up. It is our Governments responsibility to reach out in these times and offer that hand up where appropriate.
hebrew-hunny hebrew-hunny 9 years
There are some areas uptown that still look totally devastated as well. I agree, many native New Orleanians have a certain mentality that keeps them there no matter what. (And N. O. is absolutely the best place on earth!)
syako syako 9 years
janneth, you posted this on the last n.o. thread and I asked you this to which you never responded: "Jan are you from the area? What, besides the ninth ward obviously, areas are you speaking of? I know that areas like st. bernard's parish are really struggling because they were so hard hit, but from living here and watching it grow and progress for the past three years, I'd say that while there's still a lot to do, a lot of work has been done AND there are a ton of stubborn people in New Orleans who will never move because they think (and rightly so) that New Orleans is the best place on Earth. ..."
janneth janneth 9 years
And it is a national problem, not a local one.
janneth janneth 9 years
I was in NO a few months ago, and I saw streets that had only one house that was livable. And those few houses had bars on them. I bet at night it is scary. When Katrina happened I had an American friend visiting Europe. She called me to say that she could not believe that what she was seing on CNN was taking place in the US. I could only tell her that yes, it really was as bad and shocking as it looked. How could we not even get drinking water to so many folks? Come on!
nicachica nicachica 9 years
:rotfl: noooo!!!! the opposite! although i am in a bit of a snarky mood today. okay, i swear i'm not stalking you, but after seeing your resume...please apply at my office! we can continue that in PM if you'd like...
syako syako 9 years
the pope? lol. My mom says my husband has pope shoes (he has a pair of prada shoes!) ;)
syako syako 9 years
I first read that as "I'm not interested in hearing what you have to say" :rotfl: I was getting kinda mad at you! Well, the latest I could find with actual numbers is from may 10, they say they're still on schedule to have the whole tent city gone by July this year. The estimate 120 stay there now. They've had the most problems with 60 severely sick homeless, and that's what has slowed them down. It really is an eyesore, and I know that sounds completely terrible and rude, but it really is. I really hope the mental health units will help out... It's one of those situations that isn't easily remedied. :shrug: If it were, there'd be a model or a plan to follow... you know?
nicachica nicachica 9 years
and on a completely different note Sy, i just saw your wedding photos and they are soooo beautiful!!! that wrap is amazing - looks like something the pope would wear lol!
nicachica nicachica 9 years
Sy, i'm most interested in hearing what you have to say since you're in the thick of it. Are things getting better at all or is it still stalled?
syako syako 9 years
well they're trying to help them right now. There's a tent city set up under the interstate that was promised to be moved by this past January, but it hasn't happened yet. UNITY has already found 300 homeless people homes and they're working on getting the last left at this encampment and should be done by July. There's also HUD grants, mobile mental health units, etc. Of course we can do what the mayor suggested stupidly "give them one way bus tickets out of town" :oy:
nicachica nicachica 9 years
oh THERE'S that "bootstraps" mentality comment! gee, i was wondering when it was going to appear! :oy:
CrazySexyCool CrazySexyCool 9 years
I don't blame people for their mistakes or their weaknesses, but I do ask that they pay for them. We don't live in the dark ages or in a third world nation. There is help for anyone who is willing to help themselves. There are literally thousands of jobs available in the New Orleans area. If you find yourself living under a bypass - jobless and homeless, its for one reason only, you chose to live their. Instead of making an appeal for my sympathy, how about telling me what anyone of these people are doing to improve their situation.
ehadams ehadams 9 years
I think it is a national problem. It was handled terribly from the beginning and isn't getting much better. Obviously we shouldn't support these people forever, but clearly they need some government assistance to get back on their feet.
Things to Do in New Orleans
Secrets From Congress
Best Bars in New Orleans
Sasha and Malia Obama Through the Years
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds