BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) ––– When the temperatures drop, shelters fill up quickly. One local organization stepped in to provide shelter to the homeless and the opportunity to get back on their feet.
During the unprecedented weather event last month, Danyell Henriques and her husband Jonathan went on the hunt, “We were out and about trying to make sure that there was no homeless out on the street because it was just severely cold,” she said.
That is when the couple stopped at the Jambalaya Park in Gonzales. She and her husband took a restroom to see if anyone was in there. “There was a homeless individual in the men’s bathroom, and we actually put him in a shelter,” she said.
Henriques says showing you care can make all of the difference. The man they found in the restroom “is doing good, he actually found him a job, and he’s still in a hotel, but he’s doing wonderful,” she said, adding the man is now ready to start looking for a car.
This is not the first time she has helped someone in need. Henriques is the Director of Homelessness for Heaven’s Care, a non-profit organization dedicated to sheltering homeless people and getting them back on their feet. “We’ve also been placing the homeless in non-congregate shelters, which is basically motels and hotels until we can get them into the coordinated entry system or get them to St. Vincent DePaul,” she said, adding, “our goal is to end homelessness in Louisiana and then aid the rest of the United States.”
“We try to find them a job and once we get them sheltered, we still provide them meals but also get them set up with the Louisiana housing corporation and get them into the street outreach database, and then they’ll have to call somebody with coordinated entry so they can actually get into transitional, rapid rehousing,” she said.
The organization is not federally funded and relies solely on donations and support from local businesses. They have received supplies from churches and even the Cajun Navy.
Henriques says, “homelessness is real. It isn’t a situation that anybody wants to be in and most of the homeless actually do want housing. They do want to be able to become success stories.”
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