LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight such under the I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge where, for a time, there were people living in tents. Some became homeless in part due to the hurricanes of recent years while others wind up being evicted when they can't pay their rent. They are a sign of hard economic times.
Calcasieu Federal Program Development Coordinator Terek Polite explains officials have received funding for a new program aimed at helping such people from being evicted or to get into safe housing. "The Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing program is designed to provide short term financial assistance and services to those who would otherwise become homeless or those who are already at homeless shelters, living on the street or places unfit for human habitation."
Police Jury President Kevin Guidry says they are pleased to help with such a basic human need. "This is an opportunity for the people of Calcasieu Parish to somehow find a way through all we've been through, all the storms and everything that there's still hope at the end of the rainbow."
Polite says the program will offer financial help for those who qualify. "Generally anyone in an emergency shelter, temporary housing, living on the streets, in a car or a place not fit for human habitation or staying with another family for less than 30 days and there are not enough bedrooms for everyone would probably meet the definition of homelessness."
And they will provide counseling to deal with issues such as debt management and foreclosure. Those who finish counseling program may qualify for more money to help with costs associated with buying a home.
The parish will begin taking applications for the program from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday on the 6th floor of the magnolia building on Lakeshore Drive.
The program will also include housing counseling services to help them learn about issues like debt management and foreclosure.
For more information call the Parish Housing Department at 721-3577. Or for more details click here for a link to the Calcasieu Police Jury web site.