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SBC groups join to open emergency homeless shelter in New Orleans


NEW ORLEANS (BP) — Responding to yet another ripple effect of Hurricane Katrina, Southern Baptists are building a new homeless shelter through a cooperative effort involving First Baptist Church in New Orleans, the Louisiana Baptist Convention, and the SBC’s North American Mission Board, plus the partnership of the New Orleans Mission as well as financial assistance from Mayor Ray Nagin’s office.

“We’re on the front end of this homeless crisis and it’s not going away anytime soon,” said David Crosby, First Baptist’s pastor.

In the weeks immediately following the hurricane, there were no known homeless people left in greater New Orleans, but within 18 months the number was double what it had been before Katrina.

People came back to New Orleans with a job lined up, thinking they’d find housing, but nothing was available.

By Nov. 30, Crosby had received approval from the mayor’s office and from the New Orleans Mission, plus buy-ins from the Louisiana convention and NAMB, to build emergency housing for 126 men next to the New Orleans Mission on West End Freeway.

The structure will be a 120-foot-long, 30-foot-wide tent of ultraviolet ray-treated, polyester-reinforced Rip-Stop material, with a galvanized steel frame, similar to what first responders used in the aftermath of Katrina.

The tent, slated to open this month, has a five-year life expectancy.