Wants to help ‘clean, decent’ people who want to make a better life
A non-profit organization has proposed relocating about 30 homeless people who are veterans, disabled, elderly or mentally ill from New Orleans and the surrounding area to Hahnville this summer due to the hot weather conditions and the prediction of an active hurricane season.
Homeless Housing Outreach Ministries started out by giving blankets and money to homeless residents in New Orleans and eventually opened up a food kitchen. Now, they want to help the homeless find a home and get back on their feet.
“It is so hot outside and we see these homeless veterans and the elderly pushing their carts or wheelchairs around,” Lisa Carey, a volunteer with the organization, said. “We want to help them find affordable housing and get out of the heat.”
Carey said the ministry has already found a location in Hahnville, on Byrd Lane, to house the homeless that includes eight trailers and a small apartment complex. Section 8 housing is also near the site and could be used as well, Carey said.
“We have found that rural communities are more accommodating because people in those communities tend to care more and look out for others,” she said. “This would be a better life for these people than being thrown aside on sidewalks in the city.”
Carey said that two or three people would live in each apartment or trailer and split the cost of rent and utilities. She believes there is room for about 30 people at the Hahnville site.
“If rent is $500, then they can split it two or three ways so that they can afford it,” she said. “We can also help them get food stamps so that they can purchase food.”
Most of the homeless residents that would be relocated are receiving some kind of federal assistance already, Carey said, but their checks are too small to cover housing and utilities on their own.
“But if they combine those checks, they could afford it,” she added.
The Hahnville area was also an attractive one to the organization because it offers bus service.
“The bus service is important because it will help them get around town,” Carey said.
Homeless Housing Outreach Ministries plans to start moving homeless citizens to Hahnville from now until Aug. 31.
“We are looking for decent, clean people who need a break and will get a job to make a better life for themselves,” Carey said. “They are going to be contributing members of the community.”
Carey said that her group will perform background checks and contact family members for a history of each prospective tenant. She said that church service will also be a big part of the project.
“We have a minister who is going to visit each week and we have identified a variety of different churches in the area,” she added.
Anyone interested in the program may contact Carey at (504) 340-3429.
St. Charles Parish spokeswoman Renee Simpson said that the parish is investigating Homeless Housing Outreach Ministries’ plan to make sure it falls within existing zoning laws.