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Mobile outreach unit to help street homeless individuals in community

Published: Jun. 7, 2021 at 5:40 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 6:24 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The challenges from COVID-19 have forced many to move outside the walls and meet the needs of those in different settings. Most of them are on the streets.

As shelters closed or reduced the number of people allowed inside, many of the unsheltered homeless population made socially distanced homes on the streets for their own safety.

Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome will unveil the Volunteers of America Greater Baton Rouge mobile outreach unit. There will be an outdoor ribbon-cutting ceremony is at 3 p.m. Monday, June 7 at the Main Library Campus located at 7711 Goodwood Blvd in Baton Rouge.

The Volunteers of America Greater Baton Rouge said they bought the van through the Angelina Wilson foundation funding.

They say since 2016, the staff has provided community resources and referrals for library patrons, and they’re adding outreach through the mobile outreach unit at three of the main library branches with high homeless traffic or those close to homeless.

Staff will help and assist them with applying for eligible benefits, advocate on behalf of consumers, assist them with attaining safe, decent and affordable housing. People will also get appropriate medical and behavioral health care from the mobile unit.

“So we can do all of that for them in that van where they are without having to transport them somewhere or to have to sit in an office downtown and wait for them to have to come to us,” said David Kneipp, President, and CEO of Volunteers of America Greater Baton Rouge. “So it’s a way for us to reach out and be more proactive in addressing the needs of the homeless and unsheltered population.”

We all know that there’s a new normal out there going through COVID-19. Kneipp added this idea is trying to fit into the new normal with a more aggressive and innovative approach.

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