Residents of the men’s refinery mission in Opelousas will soon take another step towards independence after the completion of a new 44-bed facility, which was officially inaugurated on Thursday morning.
The refinery’s executive director Johnny Carriere said construction of the apartment complex is expected to be completed within a year. The facility includes individual rooms and possibly the start of financial self-sufficiency for selected residents.
In an interview following a groundbreaking ceremony across the street from the 64-bed refinery dorm residence at 701 W. South St., Carriere said the project would be funded by a grant of $ 270,000 from the Stuller Foundation and $ 750,000 of the Federal Home Loan includes Bank in Dallas and St. Landry Homestead Federal Savings Bank in Opelousas.
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The morning event, which was attended by a sizable group of community officials and business leaders, took place on vacant land that was previously used as a wood store on which the apartment-style transitional building will be built, Carriere said.
“Residents who live in the facility pay a low rent. Most of the rooms will be for single occupancy. This will provide more privacy to those who live there than the dorm style in our 64 bed home. It will show that they are continually making progress and taking one more step out into the world, ”said Carriere.
The refinery, which previously operated as the Lighthouse Mission for Men, was originally set up as a haven, Carriere added.
Carriere, in a 2018 Daily World interview, described the refinery as a place where displaced men are “taken off the streets” and housed, dressed and fed while they undergo rehabilitation, seek employment and seek medical treatment if needed undergo.
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Refinery residents are placed in emergency shelters on the recommendation of hospitals or detention centers. Once they become residents, the residents will be placed under the guidance of The Refinery’s staff, Carriere said in a 2018 interview.
In 2016, The Refinery was expanded to its current 64 bed configuration.
Carriere added Thursday that several male transitional facilities in the Acadiana area recently closed, increasing the need for The Refinery and other similar male facilities to continue operations.
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St. Landry Ward President Jessie Bellard told the crowd that the new facility being planned for The Refinery will serve as a service to Bellard’s “most vulnerable people in the area who are ready for the next chapter of their lives to go “, will offer. (Homelessness) is one of the biggest problems we have in our area right now. “
This article originally appeared in Opelousas Daily World: Opelousas Refinery Expands Transitional Housing