NEW ORLEANS – After years of a declining homeless population, New Orleans agencies are now struggling to keep up with the number of people becoming newly homeless.
More worryingly, they point to an increased number of families with children seeking shelter.
Single mom Royon Rene Burbank has lived with her toddler in an abandoned house gutted to the studs and left to rot since Hurricane Katrina. The 22-year-old works two jobs but is still unable to afford rent.
Intense gentrification in New Orleans since Katrina in 2005 has caused housing prices to climb, more than doubling in many neighborhoods.
That means many of the city's poor and low-income wage earners like Burbank are being forced to live in abandoned houses, parks, cars and tent encampments under bridges and overpasses.