Defunct Homeless Coalition still owns property, owes back taxes and loan payments

There are questions tonight about just what happened to the Southwestern Louisiana Homeless Coalition and it's handling of tax dollars.

Right now there are more questions than answers. According to the Secretary of State Corporations database-- the coalition is an active non profit corporation,though not in good standing,because it hasn't filed an annual report since 2010.

Yet the board vice president says for all practical purposes the coalition no longer exists.

These houses off the 2800 block of Broad Street are among the properties still owned by the Southwestern Louisiana Homeless Coalition... And the Coalition still owes money on the property. Yet this month condemned signs have been put up by the Lake Charles City building inspector and the houses must be repaired or demolished. Some of the houses are open and electrical meters are ripped out.

They happen to be just south of State Representative A. B. Franklin's office on Broad street. And he admits they are an eyesore. "When I first moved here at 2808 East Broad Street there was one that was a two story, it was falling apart, and they tore it down. A lot of these, they just need to be torn down. It's an eyesore and an unsafe area because there's a lot of people walking on this street. It's really a dead end. Where they're coming from we don't know. I have talked to councilman Geyen about it and I'm going to city council about just closing the street off from the traffic period."

Though the board vice president, Sheila Babineaux,  says the coalition no longer exists....she says they cannot formally dissolve because they owe back payroll taxes and own property.

The most recent audit on file with the legislative auditor is for year 2008 and raises many concerns about weakness, deficiencies and non compliance.

Babineaux says the agency had problems with understaffing and staff that may not have been qualified.. The Department of Housing and Urban Development eventually froze grant money due to the agency's financial situation.

Officials say the Calcasieu Police Jury has taken over the role of the Homeless Coalition and they now call it the Lake Charles Southwest Louisiana Continuum of care---a coalition of non profit agencies and service providers working to serve the homeless in our area.

For a link to audits of the homeless coalition for years 2004 - 2008 click here.