NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - If you've been downtown recently, you probably saw plenty of homeless. But there's a new move afoot to help those who need help beyond the holidays.
Teams from New Orleans Mission hit the streets two weeks ago to ask the homeless what they wanted for Christmas. Two weeks later, Santa came through.
St. Nick arrived at the mission around midday, bearing gifts for those down on their luck.
"I said, I don't know if it's within reason, but I need a bike," Nick Forrest said.
But Santa also reached out to hundreds of others. The gifts were made possible with the help of Walmart and dozens of donors.
"Rockin Doopsie gave us two big bags of clothes to give out," said Steve Scaffidi with Mission Media Productions.
The New Orleans Mission is also getting a Christmas present in the form of a $6 million facelift.
"We'll take in anyone who needs assistance, no questions asked," Scaffidi said.
The mission houses about 300 people each day, but it's hoping to use the improvements will help more people in the new year.
"The whole purpose is to make an impact in the homeless community and the city of New Orleans," Scaffidi said.
While the gifts and the temporary housing helps, the homeless say more is needed.
"Housing. There are plenty of empty buildings around here," said Forrest.
"A job," Williams said. "A real job."
It's a complicated problem, with the mission planning a multi-tiered approach.
"Our goal is rescue, recovery and re-engagement," said Scaffidi.
And the mission believes it's taken an important first step.
Unity for the Homeless estimates there are about 2,000 people living on the streets of New Orleans.