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Homeless moving out from under Baton Rouge bridge

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BATON ROUGE- As many as 100 homeless people are being forced to relocate from underneath the North Boulevard bridge near downtown. They are also getting the opportunity to move into homes of their own.

A developer is building a fence around the bridge to store equipment for renovations on the Old Entergy Site. The project is in conjunction with several developers who aim to revitalize the area between downtown and Mid-City.

The fence will stay up once work is done.

"We're very excited the city is applying resources to that area to help the homeless," said Dyke Nelson, the architect for the project.

The bridge is adjacent to homeless organizations like St. Vincent de Paul and the One Stop which are utilized by dozens of people every day.

Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome didn't want the fence to go up without an option to also relocate the people living under the bridge, according to her staff. The mayor's office is utilizing a federal HUD grant to pay up to two years of rent for those willing to leave.

"They [the homeless] have been open to the fact they're going to receive housing," said advocate Silas Thomas with Start Corporation. "Although, it is a little tough for some of them because this is what they know."

According to the mayor's office, forty-one people will be housed through the program by next week.

People go homeless in Baton Rouge all the time, yet eighty percent are rehoused within six months through existing charities and social work according to advocates.

The remaining group is much harder to help, sometimes burdened with addictions and mental health issues.

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