LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — $1M of Lafayette’s American Rescue Plan Act funds will support the city’s homeless population if approved.   

The Acadiana Regional Coalition for Homelessness & Housing (ARCH) is the non-profit coalition set to receive the funds.

ARCH’S interim director is Elsa Dimitriadis.

“In addition to the increases in the day-to-day prices we’ve seen a dramatic decrease in available shelter beds since the onset of COVID.  Now, we’re also seeing skyrocketing rental and home buying prices,” Dimitriadis said.

Lafayette City Councilman Glenn Lazard who’s introduced the ordinance, says it’s been documented that homelessness has increased exponentially since COVID-19. 

Lazard says the city has received $37M in rescue funds.  

$1M, he says, is being proposed to help a population that continues to struggle with resources.

“It encourages other grant funders to give because they see our community is invested in finding solutions and helping our most vulnerable.”

Wanda Clemons owns Wanda’s Kitchen on North University Avenue.

It opened about two months ago.

The money Clemons gets from her small dine-in restaurant helps pay for her true calling of feeding the homeless.

Clemons calls her outreach Wanda’s Blessings.

‘”It’s very bad out there.  What I try to do is help everyone that needs a plate of food.  What I do is cook and serve it for them to have a good hot cooked meal like I have,” Clemons explained.

She says she works to ease the struggles of homelessness and understands the positive impact that a million dollars will have.

“If I feed the kids, I’m sure going to try to feed you.  It may not be a lot, but I’ll feed the community.”

Councilman Lazard says he’ll be submitting more proposals in the coming weeks.