This morning the city of New Orleans requested all homeless men and women remove themselves and all of their belongings from under and around the Pontchartrain Expressway according to David Bottner, the new head of the New Orleans Mission .
The city has a lot of sprucing up to do for some for some big events, including the Sugar Bowl, the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras and the NCAA Women's Final Four.
Bottner says that's going to leave local public assistance providers overfilled.
Today the New Orleans Mayor's office announced that it has sheltered approximately 55 homeless individuals formerly living underneath the Pontchartrain Expressway near Calliope and Baronne Streets. A news release says this effort is in keeping with Mayor Landrieu's efforts to prevent, reduce, and end homelessness in New Orleans.
Bottner says he's now working directly on reducing the numbers of the homeless in the city, by concentrating on new, innovative programs that will provide them with jobs that make them productive members of society.
To ensure the safety and health of all citizens, as of Friday, November 16, 2012, the mayor's office says the area under the Pontchartrain Expressway will be closed and individuals will not be allowed to sleep, camp or park there.
"This effort was an important collaboration between multiple service partners in the best interests of our citizens," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "No one should feel they have to live on the streets . By connecting these individuals in need with vital services, we are putting them back on the path to permanent housing status. Ultimately, our goal is to make sure that all New Orleanians have a place they can call home and that our city is clean and safe."
The mayor's news release says the city's Department of Sanitation has removed all mattresses, chairs and other items, and it sent a mechanical street flusher and sweeper to the area. The New Orleans Police Department and its Homeless Assistance Unit will regularly patrol the area. The Downtown Development District will also support the City's efforts by deploying Clean Teams with a power washer and Public Safety Rangers help monitor.
And the news release says, in order to prevent individuals from congregating in this area again, the city will erect a permanent fence.