OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) – A shelter for women and their children is coming to St. Landry Parish. 

This would be the only women’s shelter in the parish. Parish President Jessie Bellard says this is a resource desperately needed in and for the parish. Bellard continues, “The need is here now.”

Organizers are hoping to model the shelter after the “Refinery”, a men’s shelter already established. “It’s working. It’s making good things happen for the guys,” adds Bellard. He says he hopes the women’ shelter can do the same. Bellard explains, “We used to have one in Opelousas, but it closed down. The Diocese of Lafayette owned it.”

After just six months of discussion, Bellard says the ball is already rolling to open the new one. “We have someone out of Lafayette Parish that came to us and said I have the seed money,” Bellard explains.

The shelter will serve as a place women can go after incarceration or if they’re looking for help and or rehab. The Community Action Agency’s programs will be available. “Looking at the jail population, we notice females who have minor charges, but they don’t get out. They have no place to go,” Bellard says. 

It will house approximately 30 beds with room to expand. It will also be open to women and children hoping to leave troubled situations. Bellard continues, ‘She’s going to separate the shelter into sections, women alone and women with children.”