Ciara Independent Living Program Spotlight Story


“A Miracle on Dante Street”


“It really was a miracle when Brittany called me,” said Barbara during our interview at Ciara Independent Living office on Dante St. “I had nowhere to go. I was homeless and had serious health issues. The timing was perfect, and she was so sweet and understanding.”

Barbara has been with Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, Ciara Independent Living Program since June 2021. At this time, she had completely run out of options. After a difficult divorce and having no source of income, Barbara was living in a friend’s garage. “I fell due to a very serious infection in my face. I was in her garage and was rushed to the hospital. It was tough because I was so ill and needed surgeries. The friend was concerned that I shouldn’t stay in the garage as it was not a safe environment. I needed a place to stay and of my five children, only one still lives in the New Orleans area.”

“I am so happy to see the progress Barbara has made. After three surgeries and much recuperation she looks great. She is now able to move forward with her life and goals.” Brittany Simmons, Program Coordinator at Ciara Independent Living continued, “Our goal is to move the client into a stable situation so they can become fully independent again. We assisted Barbara in navigating the healthcare system by setting up medical appointments, transportation, and medication management. We also provide a food pantry once a month, case management, along with therapeutic services through our Counseling Solutions Program at CCANO. The community and friendships Barbara has made at Ciara has also played a huge role in her healing process.”

Ciara Independent Living program provides safe, stable, and stigma-free housing to the chronically homeless and mentally ill by giving them a sense of community and a path to self-sufficiency. Residents pay a modest rent and are able to live relatively independently. The community of residents support each other and are able to attend support groups to work toward their goals.

“Thank you! Thank you so much for helping me. I don’t know that I would be alive without this program.” says Barbara.

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