July 27, 2022 | From City of New Orleans


NEW ORLEANS — Mayor LaToya Cantrell today joined the Office of Housing Policy and Community Development (OCD), Start Corporation and other partners on a tour of the City of New Orleans Shelter and Engagement Center, also known as the low barrier shelter located at 1530 Gravier Street.

The center, operated by the Start Corporation, has expanded from 100 available beds to 346 available beds, adding one additional floor to the facility. Along with the new bed spaces, the low barrier shelter also increased all available services such as case management to help residents get on the path toward permanent housing.

"Dating back to my time on the City Council, addressing and providing services for the homeless population has been my focus,” said Mayor Cantrell. “Whether it’s spending millions to build affordable housing or leading the way to open the City’s first low-barrier shelter in 2018, our most vulnerable population can now access the mental health, substance abuse and job training services they need while also getting on the path towards housing stability. For residents, this $5.27 million dollar expansion delivers an array of vital medical and dental services, and most importantly, allows families, pets, and couples to remain together in this safe and secure space."

“Start Corporation is pleased to partner with the City on operating a Low Barrier Shelter that combines best practices with compassion and respect, to help our most vulnerable citizens," said Casey Guidry, CEO of Start Corporation.

As a member of the City Council, Mayor Cantrell recognized the need to address the city’s homeless population, and as a result led the charge for the expansion of homeless supportive services. That promise, focus and hard work materialized in 2018 when the Mayor cut the ribbon on the City’s first Low Barrier Shelter for the homeless. The expansion was funded through the use of approximately $5 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and $277,000 of bonds for construction and buildout of the facility.     

“The Low Barrier Shelter is not just temporary housing. It represents a direct connection to the path of permanent housing and supportive services," said OCD Interim Director Tyra Johnson Brown. "The City’s programing for our homeless population would not be possible without public-private partnerships with Unity of Greater New Orleans, NOPD Homeless Unit, EMS, the Health Department, DDD and HUD. We will continue to work together to serve our most vulnerable population.”