Storm Affected Residents Have Homeownership Opportunity

The following is a news release from the Louisiana Recovery Authority:

LAKE CHARLES, La. - Lake Charles residents affected by hurricanes Rita and Katrina in 2005 who still have outstanding housing needs may be able to purchase homes through a federally-funded program designed to test storm-resistant housing models.

The homes are available for purchase through Louisiana's Alternative Housing Pilot Program, a $74.5 million FEMA-funded program to test storm-resistant housing. Homes have been built in Lake Charles and other sites across Louisiana.

The homes are between 874 and 1,112 square feet and feature Energy STAR appliances, steel frames, and hardy plank siding. The homes are elevated to the area's current standard. Two and three bedroom units are available, and they match the architectural style of Louisiana's homes.

"The AHPP looks at different kinds of post-Rita and Katrina housing options to help the federal government make more informed decisions for rebuilding homes damaged in future storms," said Robin Keegan, executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. "It also offers us a unique opportunity to help those affected by these storms find housing - especially those families that might not traditionally be able to purchase a home of their own."

Area residents who were affected by Hurricane Rita or Hurricane Katrina and who have a FEMA number associated with these storms can express their interest in the program by calling the AHPP Call Center toll-free at 1-877-301-1887. Call center staff can mail them an application for the program. Preference will be given to those households who lived in temporary FEMA housing or currently qualify for federal housing assistance.

Once the application is complete, program staff, working with local nonprofit groups Project Build a Future and Habitat for Humanity assess which families could be eligible to purchase homes through the program.

Participants will be required to take part in a case management program and could be required to attend credit or homeownership counseling.

Created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita in 2005, the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the coordinating and planning body leading the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history. The central point for hurricane recovery in Louisiana, the LRA works closely with the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and partners with state and federal agencies to oversee more than $20 billion worth of programs, speed the pace of rebuilding, remove hurdles and red tape and ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before. For more information about the LRA and its 17-member board, visit