The Path Home Homelessness Initiative Announced


LAKE CHARLES, La— United Way of Southwest Louisiana is teaming up with the City of Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, Lake Charles Police Department and Calcasieu Parish Sherriff’s Office to launch The Path Home Homelessness Initiative.


“There are many myths surrounding homelessness in America,” said Denise Durel, United Way of SWLA CEO. “The biggest myth is that homeless people don’t work, but statistics show that 45 percent of homeless adults worked in the past month. Last year, the 211 Helpline funded by United Way of SWLA received 4,534 calls requesting assistance with housing, 6,014 calls requesting assistance with utility payments and 2,491 calls requesting assistance with food/meals.”


The Path Home is a multi-agency effort to address homelessness in the area, including increased bed capacity. The City of Lake Charles is currently working with the United Way to identify partners for this program.


“Whether looking at the numbers on a national, state, regional or local level, statistics on homelessness are simply heartbreaking,” said Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter. “While it’s not a simple issue to tackle or something we can solve overnight, we believe that through strategic partnerships and outside-of-the-box thinking, we can make an impact for those suffering in our local community.”


In addition, the SWLA Committee to Address Homelessness has been established and efforts are being made to improve Point-in-Time counts. Resource information is being provided to local law enforcement and agencies are working with area churches to establish emergency shelters during extreme weather conditions.


“Homelessness is a complex issue that government cannot solve alone,” added Mayor Hunter. “We believe, however, that working together, we can streamline the process of providing assistance to those in need. We understand that more can and must be done.”


For more information on how to volunteer, make financial or in-kind donation or to learn more about becoming involved with The Path Home Homelessness Initiative, call the United Way of SWLA at (337) 433-1088 or visit