BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Homelessness is on the rise in Baton Rouge, and one organization is making a substantial contribution to a nonprofit that helps people without homes.

As an agency that’s focused on improving health outcomes, Aetna donated $25,000 to the Christian Outreach Center Tuesday (September 27).

Over the last three years, the Christian Outreach Center has seen a significant increase in demand for help, which means they’ve needed more resources.

“We’ve seen a near 100% increase since 2019,” explained Development Director at Christian Outreach Center, Matt Pham.

And now that city leaders have banned people from camping in public places being banned, Pham says the need for assistance continues to grow with no end in sight.

He said, “We expect it to continue, particularly as we stand in uncertain economic times.”

The Christian Outreach Center is a nonprofit that helps people without homes find stability in healthy ways, which include access to education, employment, and essential services.

But the Center’s means for providing these resources is limited in comparision with the ever-increasing need for help in the community.

Pham explained that the Center hasn’t been sure it can keep up with the need, saying, “We are in need of donations constantly. The support that comes to our work is critical to our ability to expand, to serve more, and to just continue to do the work that we’re doing now.”

Aetna’s $25,000 donation means a lot to the Center, and Aetna’s Chief Medical Officer, Madelyn Meyn says this donation is only the beginning.

“We’re looking forward to a long-lasting relationship,” said Meyn.

The Christian Outreach Center’s Executive Director, Brian Sleeth, says the money will help extend their services and get 50 more people ready for employment.

“We’re going to have more job training classes. We’re going to have more financial education classes. We’re going to have more prison reentry cohorts,” Sleeth said.

The Center assists more than 1,000 people a month at this time, and their goal is to get fifty more people into training classes immediately.