CAPITAL AREA ALLIANCE FOR THE HOMELESS (CAAH)
CAAH was formed in November 1993 as a result of the Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness and incorporated in 1998 to better fulfill its role as the “Continuum of Care” (CoC) agency for the seven parish area of the Capital Area Human Services District II. From its inception, CAAH membership has been open to any organization or individual involved or interested in the alleviation of homelessness.
CAAH members provide Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, and Permanent Supportive Housing for chronically homeless individuals, persons with a range of disabilities, and families experiencing homelessness for the first time. In addition to housing, our members offer a range of services that include outreach to the homeless, behavioral health referrals, substance abuse treatment, veterans services, life skills training, job training/placement, youth shelters, and literacy/GED classes. Since 1996 CAAH agencies have received over $20,000,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s McKinney-Vento Supportive Housing Program.
The first McKinney-Vento award included funding for Options Foundation’s “Project Shines,” St. Anthony’s House, O’Brien House Main Street Shelter, and the Transitional Housing Program at Salvation Army. These projects served clients suffering from mental illness, substance abuse, and HIV. Each of these projects and agencies still serve the homeless in Baton Rouge. Subsequent years saw funding for outreach to the homeless (Bishop Ott Day Program for Women and the VOA Drop In Center), homeless families (Urban Restoration’s “Home Sharing” and VOA’s “Housing Families First”), runaway youth (Youth Oasis), and formerly incarcerated (Catholic Charities’ Joseph Homes).
CAAH and its members continue to address homelessness and its root causes. CAAH members have responded to the shortage of affordable housing in Baton Rouge. Member agencies have moved into the housing development arena with over 150 units either completed or under construction. Alliance members responded to the Hurricanes of 2005 and re-housed many Katrina/Rita evacuees. Nine agencies received Homeless Prevention Rehousing Program funds through the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act and are now working to alleviate housing crises that have occurred as a result of the recession.
Another major accomplishment is the implementation of our Homeless Management Information System which became operational on November 1, 2004. We now have a tool that enables us to document the number of homeless persons and the services they received. This HUD mandated system prevents duplication of services and provides data for the national Annual Homeless Assessment Report that goes to Congress.
The Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless constantly seeks to improve its efforts. We are looking for new ways to address the needs of homeless persons. On November 10, 2011 Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless and its member agencies held a ribbon cutting ceremony to formally open the “One Stop Homeless Services Center”. This facility will streamline the process of serving homeless families and individuals. Homeless clients can now access a broad range of services to end homelessness at one location.