Ministry’s efforts to house released sex offenders in Ferriday draws opposition from sheriff, police jury
Published 9:34 am Thursday, September 29, 2022
FERRIDAY, La. — Concordia Parish Sheriff David Hedrick said he opposes the opening of what he describes as “a home for sex offenders” in Ferriday.
In a social media post last week, Hedrick spoke out against efforts by Go Ye Ministries to provide transitional housing for formerly incarcerated persons.
“I don’t think it’s a good thing to be bringing sex offenders from a big city like New Orleans into a small parish,” Hedrick said, adding he didn’t know the ministry existed before representatives met recently with the Ferriday city council, and he “didn’t know they were trying to bring sex offenders here.”
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“This organization has appeared at the Ferriday City Council with the goal of opening a home for sex offenders,” Hedrick posted on social media, adding that the group lacked certification from the Louisiana Registry of Sex Offenders Treatment Providers program.
“My office hasn’t been able to confirm Go Ye (Ministries) as a legitimate business,” Hedrick wrote. “I believe it is a great risk to the children of Concordia Parish to provide this home within our community. My responsibility is to make every effort to keep our people safe. This proposed home goes against the promise I made to Concordia Parish residents. Therefore, I will use the powers the people have given me to oppose and resist this proposed home.”
The Concordia Parish Police Jury also has issued a statement supporting the sheriff’s effort and opposing the housing of sex offenders in Ferriday.
Angel Savage Nicholas said she has led Royal Priesthood Kingdom Ministry for eight years in Ferriday.
The church, which includes a group called Go Ye Ministries, provided food and shelter to homeless people – charging $300 per month for individuals eligible for SNAP or Social Security benefits and providing free shelter to those without benefits.
In February, she began participating in Emergency Transitional Housing, a state reentry program that provides short-term housing to individuals released from prison.
The ministry’s main church building is an old store building located at 416 E.E. Wallace Blvd., which is painted with red and white inspirational messages on the side. Nicholas said she had another house at 214 Fudickar St. in Ferriday and a facility at 202 Gayosa St. in Natchez, all of which are donated to her.
“The Lee family donated that building (in Ferriday) along with four other lots to our ministry,” she said. “There were homeless people there so I began to let them live there. I put beds and cots in the buildings as there was a need.”
In July, the State Fire Marshal’s office cited Nicholas for commercially housing people inside a residential home and at its church building without proper approval. She also was cited for the house not having working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
Nicholas said she addressed those issues. She stopped housing people at the church building and only housed three in the house, which satisfies the State Fire Marshal’s requirements. She is now in the process of getting those buildings approved to use as a shelter.
Nicholas said she was called to a Sept. 13 meeting of the Ferriday Mayor and Board of Aldermen, where she asked for their approval of the shelter. The board took no action on it.
Ferriday officials said Nicholas did not get any approval from the Mayor and Board of Aldermen for any kind of shelter.
“I want it to be known that the police department is not opposed to the service. We just want to make sure everything is done properly,” Ferriday Police Chief Sam King said.
State Rep. C. Travis Johnson, who is a Ferriday native, said he knew of the ministry and supported Nicholas whenever she asked for help.
“They’ve been in the community for some time,” he said. “I thought the mayor and police officers were working with them. … I’m surprised she was able to do this for so long without going through the proper channels.”
Nicholas said if she was doing anything wrong, she didn’t know about it.
Nicholas continues to conduct her ministry in Natchez; Donaldsonville; and Lufkin, Texas. She openly shares a testimony of having been involved with drugs, prostitution and other criminal acts before her conversion to Christianity.
“I’ve been there and done that and that’s what qualifies me,” she said. “The sheriff’s office brought the prisoners to me. I did not break into the prisons to get them. … I help them get food. I help them get housing. I help them get so much. Through the word of God, I help them.”