Leaders make plans for permanent housing for homeless in BR

Baton Rouge leaders and volunteers want to model off a permanent housing establishment that has shown success rates across the country.
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 5:28 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2023 at 6:37 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Baton Rouge leaders and volunteers want to model off a permanent housing establishment that has shown success rates across the country.

Picture this a village filled with about fifty 400-square-foot homes, providing all of the basic living necessities to live.

“People need hope, people to know that they are loved and cared for, and bring the community like that here will give them,” explained Heather Cutrer.

Cutrer with the Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless went to Springfield, Mo., to view Eden Village, a development changing the lives of their homeless community.

“We want to recreate or do something similar to what they have in Springfield, Missouri because it’s a model that works. It’s amazing to see what they’ve been able to do for the community of those that were previously homeless, who now have a home and a family and a community,” added Cutrer.

The Eden Village provides permanent housing for people who are living on the street. It not only provides folks with housing but rehabilitation services. Baton Rouge city leaders want to bring a similar concept back here. They are calling it, “tiny homes.”

“We spent two years and visited or looked at 20 different sites in the Greater Baton Rouge area, and we feel like we’re close to having it narrowed down the land chosen for that site. It will be in the middle of Baton Rouge, rather than on the outskirts,” said Randy Nichols, who is a volunteer for the Tiny Homes Project.

Nichols says they are hoping to purchase land in about two or three months to start building. Tiny Homes Development will be a drug-free and crime-free community and will offer therapy services for mental health, addiction, and additional help as needed.

“They are agreeing to live in a crime and drug-free community, and there are consequences like you have to leave or immediately go to rehab should we find drugs on our property,” said Nate Schluetr, who is the chief visionary officer of the Eden Village.

Schluetr says the program reduced Springfield’s homeless population by 25 percent. Their program is mostly funded privately, with around 600 volunteers who come to the campuses monthly.

So far 11 other cities around the country adopted the Eden Village model and are replicating it in their own communities.

“Homelessness isn’t a city problem, a city government problem alone. Homeless is a community problem and we need to bring the entire community around in solving that problem,” added Schluetr.

If you are interested in helping in the Tiny Homes Project, you can contact the Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless at 225-388-5800.

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