The New Orleans’ Women’s Shelter’s (NOWS) mission is to enable women and their children to transition from a life of homelessness and poverty to one of stability and self-sufficiency. NOWS provides for families of diverse makeups and is one of the only shelters that accepts women over the age of 25 and accompanied children under the age of nine
According to UNITY New Orleans, the number of homeless in New Orleans is nearly double that found pre-Katrina. The most recent point in time estimate of the local homeless population identified 252 homeless families with dependent children.
- A 2009 housing survey found that the New Orleans rental market lacked affordable rentals for most households earning less than $20,000.
- While the lack of affordable housing is a key obstacle for our families, experience has taught us that even with increased availability of low cost housing, our women and children remain vulnerable to homelessness if they lack the skills to find and maintain a livable wage job, are without the budgeting skills necessary to maintain their household, lack childcare or family support to allow the women to look for or maintain a job, or the self-confidence to plan and move towards attaining their life goals.
Our short term goals are based on making progress towards each residents’ individual case plan, be that finding employment, obtaining a GED or enrolling in college/vocational training, erasing their debt, improving parenting skills and life style habits and gaining financial literacy. Our long term goals are based on the number of women and children who move out on their own as self-supporting citizens. Our approach has shown tremendous success, with an average of 80% of our families exiting the program to a home of their own, livable wage employment and a strong support network to enable them to handle the normal frustrations and setbacks of independence without reverting to homelessness. Since we have opened our doors we have served an average of 48 women and 25 children annually.
In 2013, we plan to provide housing for 60 women and their children annually and successfully transition a minimum of 40 women and children to independence.