Low Barrier Shelter on Its Way

Help for the homeless problem is coming.
Haven for Hope: A low barrier shelter in San Antonio, Texas

New Orleans has a very visible homeless problem. We all know that. What you may not know is that a new low barrier homeless shelter is targeted to open sometime next year.

Unlike other area shelters, a low barrier shelter is one at which homeless can find shelter any time of the day or night. They can also use the facility even if they’ve been drinking, as long as they do not cause trouble with other residents.

“With some of the other shelters, you have to arrive by early afternoon each day to have a chance to get in for the night,” explains Kurt Weigle, president and CEO of the Downtown Development District (DDD) of New Orleans since 2003.

Weigle says the DDD has identified a site for the yet-to-be-named shelter, which he says will house an estimated 100 men and women.

“It’s not just going to be a holding area,” he says. “The plan includes on site connection to services including case workers, drug and alcohol counseling and mental health services.”

While the DDD is unable to release specifics of the facility, Weigle says the project was inspired by a low barrier shelter in San Antonio called Haven for Hope (pictured above) that includes a covered courtyard to allow those that prefer to sleep outdoors to do so in a safe setting. Weigle says it’s an idea the DDD is considering.

“The low barrier center is going to be a big part of addressing the homeless problem downtown,” says Paul Richard, president of the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors (NOMAR) Commercial Investment Division (CID). “The homeless problem is CID’s highest community/social priority. Anytime there’s a high homeless population in an area, it affects the way the market views that area. The less homeless, the more the market is viewed as stable. We are definitely advocates for this project.”



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