Houma homeless shelter battered by TS Nicholas after Hurricane Ida

A shelter in Houma that takes in homeless people needs a roof after damage from Hurricane Ida.

The Bunkhouse, at 8424 Main St., provides emergency housing and private rooms for homeless men, many of whom are incarcerated.

Like many homes and businesses in Terrebonne and Lafourche, the Bunkhouse has taken a beating from the tropics over the past two weeks.

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After Hurricane Ida swept through Houma on Aug. 29, the shelter’s roof suffered extensive damage, according to Houma Police Capt. Bobbie O’Bryan, who runs the Bunkhouse.

“It ripped the roof off like a piece of paper,” O’Bryan said. “A couple of guys went out to nail down some sail material, but there wasn’t enough for the front lot. I called a few roofing companies and a group came out and put a tarpaulin on the pile house for free.”

However, the tarp could not withstand the heavy rain from Tropical Storm Nicholas, which made landfall about 30 miles southwest of Houston Monday night and was expected to dump 5-10 inches of rain on Terrebonne and Lafourche over the next few days.

“It’s raining like it never stopped,” O’Bryan said Tuesday. “The roofing company had good intentions, but despite the tarpaulin we had, it leaks in like unimaginable. I just spent two and a half hours trying to get water out on the inside to try and save as much as possible. The amount of water we get is buckets full. I imagine people in their homes today are probably frustrated too because a lot of tarps don’t hold up the way we thought they would.”

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O’Bryan said he is particularly concerned about the current 14 residents of the Bunkhouse, who will have no place to go if the shelter is forced to evacuate.

“Most of our people cannot go to emergency shelters because of their previous criminal charges,” he said. “Our boys have nowhere to go. I get calls two or three times a day asking if I have space available. If I had a roof, yes, I had space available. If I could get a roof, I would be homeless can help get them off the streets and out of this weather. I can’t hire more individuals now. It’s been a struggle.”

The Bunkhouse also offers temporary housing for a lower rent and emergency shelter for those with a voucher, O’Bryan said. The facility provides housing for single residents through rental assistance from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“Hopefully we can save the facility,” O’Bryan said. “If not, I’ll have to move those guys to a place where I have nowhere to go. You could say that Ida has given us a blow and that this tropical rain is sucking us in with buckets.”

– Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.

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