Construction to start for low income housing

Construction to start on low income housing

At last word, there were two thousand people on the waiting list for Section 8 Housing in the Lake Charles area.  As well, the difficulties for residents when Crestwood Trailer Park recently closed, show what a challenge it can be to find safe, affordable housing in the Lake Area.

A clean, safe place to live is a basic human need. But finding and keeping a decent place is a challenge for many in our community.  A few houses, are now going up for low income people.

Seventy two of 92 units at Booker T. Washington at 1901 Mill Street are to be torn down, though they will be replaced.  In all 102 new units are being built at three locations which will provide an increase of 30 new residences.

Lake Charles Housing Authority Director Ben Taylor says there is a shortage of affordable housing. "The high end housing has come back since the hurricane. But the problem is the low to moderate income people are struggling coming up with the rents. We have a shortage of apartments," said Taylor.

So, Taylor and others are thrilled to start construction on two new developments costing $14.4 million dollars for low income people. They will build 20 units for Kingsley Court is here on Cline Street while Bayou Bluff will have 34 units and is off Old Highway 171.

Banker Greg Webb with Capital One admits it takes creativity and collaboration to finance such developments.  It is HUD related. It also involves understanding tax credits. Tax credits become available for projects like this and we have to work hard as a company to attract those tax credits to markets like Southwest Louisiana.

Webb and neighbors think the new construction will upgrade the community and make life better for some in search of decent yet affordable housing. Said Annie Rious, "Hopefully it's going to keep the neighborhood up because this has been a good neighborhood. Said Bernice guillory They have quite a few people that need good housing like this."

There are 2000 people on the waiting list for government subsidized section eight housing. That section eight list with 2000 people is closed. And most of the housing being built will go to those already given priority.

But people in need of housing assistance can get more information at the Section 8 Office at 330 Broad Street or call 436-7628.

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.

The following is a news release from the Lake Charles Housing Authority:

 February 23, 2012

The Lake Charles Housing Authority, Lake Charles Non Profit Housing Development Corporation, The City of Lake Charles, Centerpointe Regional Housing Development, Capital One Bank and Hudson Housing Capital celebrate the start of construction on new affordable housing units in the City of Lake Charles, LA.

Bayou Bluff and Kingsley Court are being constructed on two parcels of previously vacant housing authority owned property. The planned development will offer two, three and four bedroom units with energy efficient appliances and lighting. The property will also offer dishwashers, washers and dryers in each unit, garbage disposals, ceramic tile, and a community center. 16% of all units will be fully accessible to people with disabilities and compliant with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 504 regulations.

When completed, the combined projects will consist of 54 single family units. Each residential unit will be reserved for residents whose incomes fall below 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for the Lake Charles area. The project is scheduled to open for occupancy in fall 2012.

"Today, we break ground on the site of former vacant land that will be transformed to a vibrant, attractive residential community." said Lake Charles Housing Authority Executive Director S. Ben Taylor. "Bayou Bluff and Kingsley Court demonstrate the housing authority's ongoing commitment to build quality affordable housing that residents regardless of income would enjoy."

Bayou Bluff and Kingsley Court are being developed in collaboration with Lake Charles Non Profit Housing Development Corporation and Centerpointe Regional Housing Development. Bayou Bluff and Kingsley Court are the first phase of a large scale, multi-year initiative to replace aging and deteriorating public housing in the City of Lake Charles.

"We are once again pleased to partner with the Lake Charles Housing Authority in this important effort to develop much-needed affordable housing. We congratulate our partners from Capital One, Hudson Housing Capital, HUD, and the housing authority for making this public-private partnership such a huge success," said Art Schuldt, managing partner of Centerpointe Regional Housing Development.

HUD's Section 901 program, through the Lake Charles Housing Authority, will provide development funding assistance to support the 54-unit development. Additionally, HUD, through the Lake Charles Housing Authority, will provide operating financial support through public housing operating subsidy and Project Based Section 8 voucher programs.

On the private sector funding side, Capital One Bank is providing construction financing and is also providing equity generated through the purchase of low-income housing tax credits. Hudson Housing Capital partnered with Capital One Bank as syndicator for the project. The Louisiana Housing Finance Agency awarded both projects Low Income Housing Tax Credit allocations in December 2010.

"At Capital One Bank, we recognize the tremendous impact that developments like this can have on the local community," said Greg Webb, Capital One Bank's Lake Charles Market President. "We are proud to partner with the Lake Charles Housing Authority and its nonprofit subsidiary Lake Charles Non Profit Housing Development Corporation to bring this worthwhile housing development to fruition."

The total cost of the two affordable housing developments is $14.4 million. Funding sources include $10,622,938 of tax credit equity provided by Capital One Bank through Hudson Housing Capital and $3,780,471 of Section 901 funds provided by HUD.

"Hudson Housing Capital is honored to be part of the development team of the Bayou Bluff and Kingsley Court development initiatives. These projects offer the best of what affordable housing development can incorporate, including for-profit and not-for-profit developers committed to a first rate product, comprehensive human supportive services, and strong neighborhood support and vision," said Blake Davis, Vice President, Hudson Housing Capital. "In partnership with Capital One Bank, we are proud to provide over $10.6 million in private funds to support this development."