We are servants of the poor
Ozanam Inn is a non-profit, direct service agency serving the homeless and needy of greater New Orleans, regardless of race, color, creed, religious preference or national origin. All of our services are provided free-of-charge. The Inn was established in 1955 by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic lay service organization dedicated to helping the poor; the Inn was named in honor of Frederick Ozanam, who founded the Society in 1852.
Ozanam Inn was opened at a time when there were few homeless women and children; our facility is not equipped to shelter women and children, but we do provide vouchers (six (6) per month) for women and women with children to stay at other agencies that sleep women/women with children. Ozanam Inn is equipped to sleep a minimum of 96 men per night; and in times of emergency, a maximum of 125. Overnight guests are given a bed for the night; are required to take a shower and shampoo their hair (toiletries and other necessities provided by Ozanam), and are loaned a clean pair of pajamas to sleep in.
Because all the Inn’s services are free, we have instituted a rotation policy to ensure every man a fair amount of overnight shelter. Each man is guaranteed a minimum of 10 nights of shelter per year. After the ten nights have been used, he may get in via the stand-by list. There are no maximum number of nights a man may stay. Men are never turned away until all beds are filled.
Ozanam Inn’s meal program is the most comprehensive in New Orleans, offering three meals a day seven days a week. Anyone (men, women and children) may partake in our meal program. Breakfast is served at 6:00 am, lunch is at 2:00 pm (both are hot meals cooked at the Inn), sandwiches (made at the Inn) are our dinner meal and are served at 6:00 pm. We serve an average of 500 - 600 meals each day.
In addition to housing and food, Ozanam Inn offers several other services. An in-house dispensary is opened at night for the overnight guests; volunteer nurses and medical students perform basic first aid procedures and make referrals to Charity Hospital when necessary; they also give and read TB tests. “Outside” clients, if using the Charity Hospital system, may come by once every to have the Inn assist them with prescription medicine. LSU and Tulane Medical Students hold a basic medical clinic on Saturday and Sunday, which any client may come to.
Deacons from various Christian Churches are assigned to the Inn to hold Bible/prayer services for the overnight guests (which is optional, not mandatory). Some counseling services are also provided. Any client may use the Inn’s address to receive any and all types of mail. Ozanam Inn also furnishes clothing to men, women and children. The Inn issues an average of 450 pieces of clothing a month. The Inn also supplies sheets and blankets in the cooler and cold months to those who live on the streets during the day, and especially at night.
There are also three extended stay programs at the Inn:
Volunteer Corps Assistance ( VCA ) - These men are given a permanent bed, three daily meals, clothing, laundry their clothes and assistance in acquiring other necessary items, in exchange for their work at the Inn. VCA’s assist the staff with cooking, housekeeping, office work and other miscellaneous duties.
Occupational Transitional Assistance ( OTA ) - Clients who hold full time jobs outside the Inn are given a permanent bed, three meals a day, have their clothes laundered and assistance with other needs if necessary. The program requires they turn over 80% of their net pay to the Inn for safekeeping and saving (the Inn does not keep any of this money), for which they are given a receipt. This is done to aid them in reaching their goal of independent living, at which time all of their money is returned to them. The men must also assist around the Inn when available.
Medical Transitional Assistance ( MTA ) - With proper medical documentation, homeless men are allowed to recuperate from illness or surgery at the Inn for a designated time. They are given a permanent bed, three meals a day, clothing, and assisted with filling of necessary prescriptions. They are also asked to assist the crew in accordance with their ability to do so.
Ozanam Inn receives some funds from the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the conferences of the St. Vincent de Paul Society; but, our major source of funds is from private and corporate donors, either monetary and/or commodity. Commodity donations include clothing, eyeglasses, non-prescription medicines, toiletries, prepared and unprepared foods, coffee, sugar, and others. The Inn purchases about one-third of its food supplies from a local non-profit food bank at very reduced rates. Those items that are not donated or purchased through special means, are purchased on the open market.
The hungry and homeless need our help, in terms of resources and, more importantly, in terms of support. We believe that despite the enormity of the problems we tackle, Ozanam Inn is making a difference in people’s lives by easing their suffering and giving them hope. We are a small organization, but are able to provide some form of assistance to over 300,000 men, women and children annually.
If you have any questions concerning the Inn, its operation, or need any additional information, please feel free to contact me, or come by our facility for a tour. Thank you again for your time, consideration and the opportunity to speak with you.
Clarence Adams, Sr.