Metro Council helps to fund program that gives homeless a fresh start

Photo provided by staff
Friday, June 14, 2013 - 6:05pm

Officials in Baton Rouge say homelessness is a big problem in the Capital City, but they think the best way to change that is not actually in the city.

Joe Keegan, a director at Saint Vincent DePaul, works with homeless people every day.

"In this city of Baton Rouge, I have some sisters here, I have a brother in Ponchatoula," Keegan said. "If something went wrong in my life, I have a support system to help me walk through it, and homeless people are the same way."

The difference is, for some homeless people, that support system is not here. Keegan said the way home program might be the way out of homlessness.

"I think it's a great opportunity for those individuals where they have a support system in the city to where they're going," Keegan said. "That's where they have an opportunity to take another step forward in taking care of themselves and being independent."

It's why the Metro Council decided to pay for the program, which until now has been non-profit.

"It's been very successful, and they've been doing it through private funds," Delgado. "So what I asked the council to do was to allocate a small amount of money to assist this program and further their mission."

Their mission is to help homeless people get a fresh start by paying for a bus ticket to a city where they have family support.

"They would say, 'Hey, I have a cousin in Dallas that can get me a job if I could only get their, but the bus ticket cost $80 and I don't have $80," Delgado said. "Will ya'll give me the bus ticket? They actually buy the ticket and give it to that person to put them on the bus."

The Metro Council says it does not just help the homeless, it helps the city.

"So if we help them by sending them to a place were they can be better suited to be and also help tourism and businesses in downtown Baton Rouge," Delgado said. "I think it's a win win."

The Metro Council voted to spend $5000 of it's budget to fund the project.


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