The lack of affordable housing is a problem for many in Southwest Louisiana, but especially those with developmental disabilities. That's why CARC is working to sponsor housing through a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
CARC officials say they hope to locate complexes at three different locations.The plans call for each site to consist of four duplexes for a total of eight single bedroom units, a manager's cottage, a laundry and a small community room.
But in order to make the projects a reality, CARC will have to succeed in getting grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The commercial laundry run by CARC is the largest in the area and one place to find those who might use such housing. At the laundry, people with developmental delays are able to work and provide for themselves. James Deaton is happy working here He has a girlfriend and social life. He used to stay with his mother but now has his own apartment. Said James, "There other people that help me out but some things I do on my own. I go shopping on my own. I can write a check for my bills. And I drive. It's nice. I make my own curfews and all that."
But there's always a waiting list for others, like Carol, who cannot now get her own place. "I live with my parents." Reporter: "Would you rather have your own apartment?" Carol says.
CARC Executive Director Howard Stroud says it's often more difficult for their clients to find housing. "Especially with them being developmentally delayed, it makes it even more difficult in some cases. People are a bit nervous about renting to them and that kind of thing."
It's not just that CARC clients want to be independent. Many need to plan for the day when aging parents will no longer be able to care for them. Said Stroud, "A lot of these folks parents are aging now and they're looking for something that's appropriate, and safe and right for them."
CARC is seeking grants for three different housing complexes similar to Louie Street apartments in Lake Charles. Explains Stroud they are, "HUD grants. Three different grants: One for Maplewood, one for Fifth Avenue and one for Power Center."
Stroud says they are gathering letters from community members to encourage HUD to award the grants to CARC. Letters of support must be in by Monday. Stroud says they'll even come pick them up if they are not too far away. For more information call CARC at 433-3620. They plan to bundle the letters together and mail them off to HUD as a show of community support.