A local non-profit believes homelessness could be eliminated, if there were a central
location to receive government help.
Hope for the Homeless is renovating the old United Tile Building on Levy Street, hoping
to create a one-stop shop for those living on the streets seeking help.
Currently, the non-profit operates the Hope House on Austin Place.
The new building will be called Hope Connections. It will house branches for 11
different agencies from Catholic Charities to Grace's Closet to the Veteran's Administration.
There will also be nurses on hand and hot meals served throughout the day.
The goal is to get the chronically homeless off the streets and integrated back into society.
"This will change the system by being the single point of entry for all homeless people,” said
Christa Pazzaglia, the Executive Director of Hope for the Homeless.
“Anyone can walk in the door at Hope Connections and get a well-rounded assessment and quickly be referred based on a triage system to the services they need."
Construction began on July 27. Phase one is expected to be complete by Jan. 6, 2013.
The $700,000 project was partially funded by the city of Shreveport.
The non-profit is currently raising $2 million to start Phase Two. The second phase involves
building a new 75 to 100 bed shelter for men and women battling drug and alcohol addictions who have nowhere else to go.
Hope House currently serves around 100 people per day. Pazzaglia estimates there are 300
to 350 people sleeping on the streets any given night in Shreveport. In one year, all of the agencies that serve the homeless serve about 4,000 people. According to Pazzaglia, it cost taxpayers $50,000 to $75,000 for someone to live on the streets due to jail time, using the Emergency Room for medical care, and being institutionalized. She estimates it will cost $12,000 to help these same people if they’re housed in their new facility.