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City votes against homeless shelter

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 1:37 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The Lake Charles City Council voted down a proposed homeless shelter Wednesday evening.

Many locals voiced their opinions before the City Council voted against the construction of Saint Joseph Refuge Shelter for Men.

There was not an empty chair in the council chambers. Residents who live in the area were concerned about the problems that would follow if the shelter was approved.

“We don’t want to have to be looking over our shoulders every time we come up from driving home, and there is somebody sleeping on your porch,” one resident said.

Catholic Charities of Southwest Louisiana has worked for months on obtaining permission to move forward with construction of the Saint Joseph Refuge Shelter for men. The shelter would have been located within a residential area - in the 1000 block of Sixth Avenue.

“More drugs, more violence, more police presence, more mental health issues, more home invasions and a lot of other disasters that we don’t need in our community at this time,” Ellaweena G. Woods said.

“I’ve got grandkids in that area. There is single moms, there is widows and there’s old people in that area,” Dana Thomas said.

With a growing number of homeless in the community, others wonder what options people in need will have.

“I think that we have to go back to thinking about people,” Joshua Lewis said. “Some of us were displaced through the storm, some of us may never have been displaced. But you have to understand that individuals have never had a place to call home.”

“Trinity Baptist Church housed 300 people after the flood, but they can’t do it permanently. We can only do it for a few days. So, having a place where people can get resources and job training is critical to have in this certain location.”

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