Empire of the Seed adds support for affordable housing initiatives

Published 8:24 pm Friday, September 15, 2023

The hurricanes tore down. Volunteers from Fuller Disaster Rebuilders — along with the Louisiana Conference of United Methodists and Mennonite Disaster Services — repaired 80 houses and built one. Most of those hard-working volunteers have returned to their own homes, or are now helping in other parts of the country.

In Southwest Louisiana, Fuller will continue its mission of serving the affordable housing needs of low-income families and individuals. In April 2023, the Fuller Center for Housing began its mission in Southwest Louisiana. On Friday, it was infused with a $50,000 donation from local community champions Rick and Donna Richard of Empire of the Seed.

The Richards said they made the decision to support the initiative based on their experience of supporting Habitat for Humanity when they lived in Virginia. Milton Fuller founded Habitat in 1975. Fuller Center Disaster Rebuilders was formed in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.

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“Hurricanes Laura and Delta and other disasters dealt a devastating blow to the affordable housing market in Southwest Louisiana,” said Greta Willis. “Many of our most vulnerable homeowners have not recovered. Their homes remain damaged, and they cannot afford to repair them. Many of our older neighbors, living on fixed incomes, cannot afford to pay contractors to repair or maintain their homes. Young families with small children see the opportunity for homeownership slipping farther out of their reach. We are working to change these stories.”

Fuller Center for Housing focuses on the needs of the low-income, elderly, disabled, veterans and households with small children who make 80 percent or less than the area median income.

“Many people don’t realize, until they see the chart, that they make 80 percent less than the area median income,” Willis said. “If they think there is any chance they qualify, they need to apply.”

The Fuller Center will repair existing homes and build new homes in the five-parish area. Construction costs are kept at a minimum by using volunteer labor where possible, and coupled with low and no interest loans, making home repair or ownership affordable to low-income families and individuals.

For more, email greta.fchswla@gmail.com or call 337-884-9794.