BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Many people in the homeless community call the overpass on North Boulevard home. "Homelessness has unfortunately been an issue that we've been dealing with in Baton Rouge for a long, long time," said District 10 councilwoman, Tara Wicker.
But if you've driven by that overpass recently, you might've noticed there aren't as many makeshift homes filling the lot. That's because the city is cleaning up. "But at the same time, this has been their home for a long time," said Wicker. "We have to be respectful of that and recognize this is a community with a support system."
On the metro council agenda for Wednesday, January 10, item 58 suggested fencing in the unused lots under the bridge for temporary construction equipment. That's the same lots used by the homeless, but councilwoman Wicker says the city didn't just show the homeless the door. They're being re-housed.
"Before we do anything, all these individuals at least have the option to choose better housing," said Wicker. "We really walk them through the process to get them housing before we go in and just fence the area."
Wicker says the long-term plan has the city working with several agencies, including St. Vincent de Paul, to provide shelter for the less fortunate and provide them with the necessary resources to make sure they're able to remain in that shelter.
The metro council did not vote on this item during the meeting, but deferred it until the next meeting in two weeks.