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On Tuesday, Catholic Charities of Acadiana sent out an email asking for donations to supplement funding for the shelter following Governor Jeff Landry’s recent decision to cut state funding for the shelter’s operations by $1 million.

In an urgent appeal to the public, Catholic Charities CEO Kim Boudreaux said the funds were “critical to (Catholic Charities’) mission of keeping shelters safe” and their loss represents a “shocking setback” to those efforts.

At a recent meeting to discuss possible solutions to the problem of homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in Acadiana, Boudreaux noted that the governor’s decision has plunged her organization “even deeper into crisis” in terms of addressing these challenges.

Catholic Charities’ emergency shelter serves as a transition between the streets and permanent housing, offering people an opportunity to escape the elements and, ideally, find a more permanent place to live.

Gov. Landry, in a written statement issued June 26, cited immigration as a key factor in his decision to block the funds. “Part of Catholic Charities’ mission is to support the influx of illegal immigrants into our country,” Landry said. “Taxpayers should never pay for nonprofits that contribute to the illegal immigration crisis facing our country.”

Catholic Charities of Acadiana provides low-cost legal assistance to immigrants applying for work permits, permanent residency or citizenship, as well as other legal immigration services. However, the funds rejected by Landry did not go toward those services, but were specifically allocated to operate emergency shelters.

Catholic Charities houses 87 homeless people each night, according to a recent statement in response to the governor’s veto. In 2023, Catholic Charities housed 410 people in its emergency shelter, according to the same statement. Of those, 81% were from the eight-parish Acadiana region, 10% from another parish in Louisiana, and 9% from outside the state.