Among the most active nonprofit agencies in the disaster relief effort following Hurricane Katrina in the Greater New Orleans area is UNITY of Greater New Orleans, a consortium of 63 non-profit and government organizations founded in 1992 with the goal of providing housing and services to individuals in the city currently suffering homelessness.
UNITY of Greater New Orleans seeks to effectively address the most severe problem of homelessness in the nation; one of many lingering after-effects of Hurricane Katrina. According to conservative estimates taken by UNITY four full years after Katrina in August of 2009, approximately 11,000 people, constituting nearly four percent of the city’s population, remain homeless; more than four times the national average of most major metropolitan areas and more than double the rate of the city with the next highest homelessness rate—Atlanta, at 1.4 percent. UNITY also estimated a total of more than 6,000 squatters living in the city’s nearly 66,000 abandoned homes. UNITY additionally found nine homeowners living in unrepaired, flood damaged homes which contained toxic hazards and were deemed unfit for habitation.
UNITY of Greater New Orleans is currently the only agency which is taking regular surveys of abandoned homes in the city of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. In addition to taking surveys of abandoned homes, providing the most accurate known estimates of homelessness in the city of New Orleans and working with policymakers to help provide sufficient, affordable housing to struggling and homeless families and citizens in the Greater New Orleans area, UNITY of Greater New Orleans has created UNITY HousingLink—a free online listing resource which provides guidance for potential renters to determine affordable housing budgets in helping to find affordable housing while simultaneously helping landlords and agencies to fill vacancies.
For private individuals who wish to become involved with UNITY of Greater New Orleans in their effort to address the problem of homelessness in the city and surrounding area following Hurricane Katrina, UNITY of Greater New Orleans accepts donations of household goods, toiletries and bedding supplies for their warehouse, where volunteer opportunities are available to help inventory and sort donated goods. Volunteer opportunities are also available at the UNITY office to assist with data research and computer graphic and website design, or on-call for pick up and delivery of goods or with UNITY’s moving team. You can also make a tax-deductible donation by telephone to support the nonprofit efforts of UNITY of Greater New Orleans to help provide housing and services to those suffering homelessness in the area.