Board of Appeals denies request to allow more residents in proposed homeless facility

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - One local organization met in front of an Alexandria entity on Monday in an effort to further their plans of a homeless facility.

Source: KALB

"They may be returning citizens who were incarcerated, they may not be,” said Candy Christophe with Re-Entry Solutions. “But they are not offenders as they will not be in the custody of any correctional facility."

Re-entry Solutions may be a group that helps inmates returning to society. However, when it comes to "A New Beginning" it's the homeless they're looking to help.

"It is a shelter," explained Christophe.

Christophe said her organization received a grant to purchase three buildings and five acres of land, and their goal is to house a maximum of 50 people in need. The residents would need to meet certain requirements to live there, and most importantly would need to be capable of securing a job.

"We want this program to succeed,” expressed Christophe. “When one succeeds, we all succeed in Alexandria."

However, the City has classified the facility as a halfway house, meaning that there could only be a maximum of 10 residents. So Re-Entry Solutions met in front of the Board of Adjustments and Appeals on Monday evening to ask for an exception so they could help as many people as possible.

"We want to have an increase in the required 10 to our desired 50," explained Christophe.

Christophe argued that a halfway house is for offenders, and that "A New Beginning" shouldn't fall under that category. However, the Board agreed that the real issue lies in how many people can fit in the facility. They said 50 will overcrowd the building.

"The issue is not what you call it,” said Bryon Salazar, Board Member. “It's the 10 people versus the 50 people. That's the reason we're here. I just want to make sure we're all clear on that."

The Board also brought up a few other concerns. So they ultimately denied the exception.

"It's very, very vague on what will happen in the facility, how it's going to be run, how you want to recruit your residents," added Mike Bordelon, Board Chairman. "I’m not convinced that all the concerns have been answered or addressed."

It came as a heavy blow to Christophe.

"God where are you?” expressed Christophe. “That was my thoughts."

However, she said Re-Entry Solutions will regroup and continue making efforts towards their goal.

"I think where God gives vision, He gives provision,” said Christophe. “We'll need to see how He wants us to go forward, but I believe this is God's will and we'll continue to serve His people."

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