Local Homeless Advocate Receives Prestigious National Award
Sometimes forcing people to live in a flimsy tent beneath an overpass, sleep in a cramped parked car or find refuge in a homeless shelter, homelessness is a perilous challenge to an estimated 552,830 Americans. Approximately 2.4 % of homeless people (or 13,000 out of 500,000) die every year.
Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of many, these bleak numbers are beginning to improve.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, overall homelessness in the United States has decreased by 12% since 2007, the year nation-wide data collection began. The current COVID-19 crisis, however, has the potential to diminish or completely wipe out these modest gains. Locally, we have numerous organizations pitching in to address this current crisis and one leader is even garnering nationwide recognition for her efforts.
Trinna Stanford, the director of Bethlehem Housing, was recently named as a 2020 Outstanding Clinician by the American Public Health Association Caucus on Homelessness, a national forum for professionals working on homelessness and health issues.
Bethlehem Housing, a Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans (CCANO) program, serves homeless families with children in the eight civil parishes of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, providing rapid re-housing services to stabilize families quickly and address the root causes of their homelessness.
“We could not be prouder of Trinna’s consistent work throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic, stay-at-home orders and particularly active hurricane season,” said CCANO
President and CEO Sister Marjorie Hebert. “Trinna and the team at Bethlehem Housing have stepped up, tirelessly working to aid homeless families and continue all possible services for clients despite these ongoing challenges.”
As a registered social worker with a master’s degree in counseling, Stanford began her career with CCANO in 2006 as a case manager on the organization’s disaster relief team post-Hurricane Katrina.
“Being recognized for our work in the New Orleans community brings me one step closer toward our ultimate goal of eradicating homelessness,” Stanford says. “I’m honored to receive this prestigious accolade, as it reflects the selflessness, dedication and passion of my entire team.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Stanford and the team at Bethlehem Housing served a total of 99 adults and 203 children and housed 36 families. In addition to helping current clients navigate the new health and safety guidelines, Bethlehem Housing continued to accept and house new families.
Since March 2020, CCANO’s Bethlehem Housing program housed and provided intensive case management services to 33 new families, consisting of 40 adults and 64 children who were previously homeless. In addition, Bethlehem Housing has also provided short-term assistance to eight new families, consisting of 11 adults and 23 children.
“I believe that every family deserves a safe place to live and someone to help them become self-sufficient,” says Stanford. “For over 14 years, I’ve worked in my profession with a giving heart, and when I see where there’s a need, I’m compelled to assist. God has blessed me with the unwavering ability to help the most vulnerable population in their most desperate time of need. It’s been a great honor to be a blessing for others in these unprecedented times.”
For more information on Bethlehem Housing, visit ccano.org/blog/introducing-bethlehem-housing