From homeowner to homeless - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

From homeowner to homeless

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

A Lake Charles woman finds herself on the edge of homelessness after a fire destroyed the inside of her home. 

In January, Arlene George found her home in flames. 

"When I got here, I couldn't believe it," George said.

George has lived in the house for almost 35 years and now with no place else to go, she's living in her car.

"I put blankets, water and stuff up in here. Covered up under my blankets are bags of clothes," George described her living situation.

No fire insurance, no money to pay rent elsewhere and with most of her family gone, George is trying to make ends meet all while trying to find a way to get her house repaired.

"I can't focus. I can't think. I can't concentrate. It's... It's just so much. It really messes with your mind," she said about the state of her house.

This state of mind has her thinking there's no where to turn for help, especially as she's on the verge of being homeless.

The Lake Charles Housing Authority makes situations like this a priority. 

"In case of a fire, they would go directly to the top of the waiting list," Director of the Lake Charles Housing Authority Ben Taylor said.

Victims of a house fire are asked to bring in their fire report along with proper identification and social security numbers in order to be qualified for assistance.

"We realize that a lot of times there's somebody that's caught in a fire, they're not going to have all of the necessary stuff because it might have been damaged in the fire. So what we ask them to do, we give them alternative sources where we can confirm what they're telling us," Taylor said.

From there, the Housing Authority works with the victims on making deposits, getting them food, clothing and other essentials.

"Home is an extremely stabilizing and important thing," Taylor said.

And for George, nothing is going to stand in her way of making sure her house is a home again.

"I am sick. I have the flue. I feel terrible, but I still got out here and still trying to reach out and get that help. I said if I'm going to die getting it, that's God's will, may it be," George said.

George is still waiting to be qualified with the Housing Authority. Once her paperwork is turned in, they will have to confirm her fire report and do a criminal background check before setting her up in a temporary home. 

Again, the Lake Charles Housing Authority can help out anyone who needs a place to live. You can visit them at any of their three locations in Lake Charles. 

- 661 Dixy Drive

- 1903 Augustus Street

- Golden Arms, 1481 3rd Street

Or you can call them at (337) 439-4189.

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