NEW ORLEANS — "It's kind of like rough out here in New Orleans..."

Jesse Winding says he knows how hard it is living on the streets.

"These streets will grab a hold of you, and swallow you if you don't know what you're doing," he said. 

Winding said he's been homeless since he was 7-years-old. For him, it's his normal.

The reason why, he says, is because he can't find a roof over his head.

"The rent is high...$1600, $1700 a month, that is too high," he said.

He's not alone, which is the reason advocates say is why the homelessness rate in Orleans Parish is at a stand still from 2018.

Martha Kegel, Executive Director of Unity Greater New Orleans, an organization looking to end homelessness, says they've worked hard to reduce the number of people on the streets.

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The organization compiled the data and found the number one reason why people are on the street is high rent.

"It's clear we're about to join the rest of the country and watch our homeless numbers go up," Kegel said. 

Kegel says the rent has risen 25 percent from 2012 to 2016. The problem is that the income doesn't keep up.

In New Orleans, the median household income was about $39,000 in 2016, less than the national average of about $58,000, according to Kegel. 

"We're going to continue to do everything in our power to stop the surge of new homelessness," she said. 

In a positive projection, chronic homelessness, those who have disabilities living outside an emergency shelter, dropped from just over 400 in 2017 to about 150 so far in 2019, according to officials with the organization. 

The decline in chronic homelessness comes from providing permanent supportive housing with long-term rent assistance, as well as case management services, officials say. 

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It's why Bobbie Jo Crouchet, who slept in front the public library, is glad she now has a home.

"It feels blessed, and still today we're taking care of people out here," Crouchet said. 

Still, people remain on the streets, unable to find a home they can afford.

"We need housing, I have a check, I can pay, I just don't have affordable housing," one woman said.