New and Notables: Lou Anne White
Executive Director | Louvis Services
Lou Anne White has built a career of service: to families affected by domestic violence, youth in foster care, and people experiencing homelessness. As executive director of Louvis Services, White applies that experience to growing an innovative housing model for homeless people in New Orleans.
White formerly served the homeless in Los Angeles, a population she estimated at around 90,000 during her tenure. By comparison, New Orleans’ homeless number an estimated 1,300. “We should be able to figure out a way to get 1,300 people off the street,” she said.
Her answer? More housing.
“It’s scary to me when I hear people say [about homeless people], ‘They want to be homeless,’ or ‘[they] shouldn’t be under the highway.’ … Where are people supposed to go if we’re not creating housing opportunities?”
Louvis Services is working to build tiny homes for the homeless. The first home, in the Lower Ninth Ward, was recently completed and stands ready for tenants. White credits organizations like NANO, which provided design and construction-related services, Colmex, Engineers Without Borders, BCBS Louisiana Foundation, and others that helped with design, funding and financing.
Plans are underway to secure lots for four more homes, as White and her all-volunteer team work to establish tenant services like behavioral health, onsite gardening and community involvement to help forge connections with neighbors. Tenants will eventually pay a third of their income toward rent, with the remainder covered by the Louisiana Housing Corporation.
“This is a community where people care,” said White. “If we can get more community involved like we have working with us, this is something that can be solved.”