Homeless Awareness & Advocacy Week to kick off - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Homeless Awareness & Advocacy Week to kick off

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) Coalition announces Homeless Awareness & Advocacy Week September 23-27.

On September 20, The Central Louisiana Homeless Coalition announced September 23 through 27 as Homeless Awareness & Advocacy Week in Region VI of Louisiana. This region consists of eight parishes in Central Louisiana – Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Rapides, Vernon and Winn parishes. The CLHC and several other local agencies have joined forces to host several events during the week to increase awareness and raise funds to end homelessness.

"This is our second Homeless Awareness & Advocacy Week, and we have something planned for each day of the week," said Kendra Gauthier, executive director of the CLHC. "Our focus during the week will be on homelessness, mental illness, substance abuse and domestic violence."

The coalition will kick off Homeless Awareness & Advocacy Week with its 3rd Annual Homeless Summit on September 23 at the Pineville Community Center on Main Street.

"The summit is an interactive workshop," said Gauthier. "We have secured two dynamic speakers for the workshop, and it includes lunch plus three continuing education units for those needing CEUs from the National Association of Social Workers."

The summit is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Tickets to attend the summit are $30 each and can be purchased from the CLHC or online at www.cenlahomeless.org.

Gauthier said, "Homelessness continues to be an ongoing issue in urban and rural communities nationally.  Many people generally don't think homelessness is a problem in this area primarily because the parishes in our region are rural, and homeless individuals are not as visible.  Every year, we do a street count, and we always find people sleeping on the streets or under a bridge." 

Homeless Awareness & Advocacy Week Events include the following:

Monday, September 23
"3rd Annual Homeless Summit "
Hosted by Central La. Homeless Coalition

Event: Kick off for Homeless Awareness & Advocacy Week with guest speakers Randy Nichols, Executive Director of Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless, a coalition of thirty plus homeless service providers and the HUD Continuum of Care organization for the Greater Baton Rouge, and Jack Dyer, Substance Abuse Disorder Specialist at Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System in New Orleans. This program is approved for three CEUs for social workers. Tickets are $30. Seating is limited.

Time: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Pineville Community Center, Main St.
Contact: Kendra Gauthier (318) 443-0500

Tuesday, September 24
"Open House"
Hosted by Cenla Chemical Dependency Council

Event: As mental illness and substance abuse are among the leading causes of homelessness, CCDC will host an open house for the public to learn about the programs and services available to people experiencing these co-occurring disorders. A vigil and balloon release will be at 11 a.m. to remember those who are fighting these disorders. Free and open to the public.

Time: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Location: Cenla Chemical Dependency Council, Phase II Halfway House/TANF SA Treatment,  Unit 36, Rainbow Drive, Central La State Hospital Campus, Pineville
Contact: Gayle Philson (318) 484-6816

Wednesday, September 25
"Stomp Out Domestic Violence"
Hosted by Faith House

Event: Faith House will be in front of "Little Cakes with Big Attitudes" distributing information about its program. Faith House will also be face painting and handing out purple balloons in honor of the countless victims of domestic violence in our community each year. Free and open to the public.

Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Little Cakes, 4120 Jackson St., Ext. Alexandria
Contact: Kristen Boutte or Henrietta Lewis at (337) 267-9422

Thursday, September 26
"Homeless Youth Awareness Program"
Hosted by Rapides Parish School Board Homeless Program

Event: Homeless youth is one of the fastest growing homeless populations in our community. Find out how you can help and learn about the resources available to this vulnerable population. Many community partners are teaming up for this resource fair. Free and open to the public.

Time: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Location: Rapides Parish School Board Office, 502 Beauregard St., Alexandria
Contact: Lynda Ellington (318) 442-8891

"H2O" (Helping 2 Overcome Homelessness)
Hosted by Volunteers of America

Event: A "one-stop" shop for anyone experiencing homelessness. Join service providers as they come together to bring services to the people who need them, all in one location. Free and open to the public

Time: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Emmanuel Baptist Church, Alexandria
Contact: Tracey Colson (318) 442-8026

Friday, September 27
"Stand Down"
Hosted by Alexandria VA Healthcare System

Event: A "one-stop" shop for homeless Veterans. Medical screenings, employment resources, haircuts, food, clothing, and more!

Time: 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Bolton Avenue Community Center, Alexandria
Contact: Rena Powel (318) 466-2773

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