New program to help residents repair storm-damaged homes
Published 6:28 am Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Lake Charles City Council members on Tuesday heard of a recently-launched program aimed at helping residents with low to moderate incomes repair their hurricane-damaged homes.
First announced by Mayor Nic Hunter and Gov. John Bel Edwards last November, the Lake Charles Housing Rehabilitation and Recovery Program is using $11.3 million in combined federal, state and local funds to repair homes within city limits. The application period began Monday and lasts through 5 p.m. May 25.
“We’ve already had so many people express interest in this program,” he said. “We have no doubt in our mind that the $11.3 million we have dedicated will be gone quickly after the registration period.”
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Most of the money is set aside for homeowners, but $1 million is for landlords who lease to low- to moderate-income residents and charge an affordable rent for a certain time period, Hunter said.
Mark Tizano, city director of community development, estimates that the program will assist at least 150 homeowners. Grant awards are limited to $60,000 per structure, he said.
Under guidelines set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, applicants must either be at least 62 years old, a single parent head of household, or disabled. An applicant’s gross household income must be at 80 percent or below of the area median income.
The home must have been owned and occupied on Aug. 27, 2020, Tizano said. Eligible structures must be a single-family house and cannot be a mobile home, condominium, or duplex. Homes cannot be located in a flood zone.
Public meetings on the program are set for Thursday at the Riverside Community Center, April 19 at College Oaks Elementary School, 3618 Ernest St., and April 14 at Hamilton Christian Academy, 1415 8th St. All meetings are scheduled for 6 p.m.
To register, visit lchrrp.com, or visit the Housing Assistance Center at the Henry Heights Recreation Center, 801 E. School St. The center is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Hunter also encouraged residents still in need of housing assistance from Hurricanes Laura and Delta to register for Restore Louisiana online at restore.la.gov.
“We need those numbers to be robust for Southwest Louisiana,” he said. “I know that it’s taken a long time, but help is on the way and we have to have people sign up.”