Louisiana Housing Alliance "listening" - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Louisiana Housing Alliance 'listening'

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CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

The Louisiana Housing Alliance is listening - listening to find out what needs to be done to help meet housing needs in the future.

It's an issue especially critical for this area where economic growth will create more demand for housing.

Devin Andrews, 23, lives in the High School Park housing complex off Second Avenue, though he's now living in government housing with his girlfriend and two babies. He hopes to one day own a home of his own.

"We plan to save some money and get a decent house, fence around it, dog, swimming pool in the back maybe," he said.

Andrews has a job and hopes to go back to school so that he can one day buy a home. But he knows it may not be easy to find affordable housing.

"I see a lot of houses, but to be honest most of them are kind of above, especially coming straight from section eight. It's kind of complicated," said Andrews.

Houses like those recently by Project Build a Future help those who might otherwise never own a home.

The Louisiana Housing Alliance is holding a statewide listening tour to discuss housing issues and find others to build coalitions to help meet the need. Another issue is the poor quality of housing for many.

Patrick Haughey is a policy analyst for the Louisiana Housing Alliance.

"Louisiana is lacking when compared to other states, those protections are less. We've done research which shows that about 25 percent of  households in Louisiana have substandard housing. That could be leaky roofs, it could be plumbing problems," said Haughey.

Both Habitat for Humanity and Project Build a Future are part of the alliance trying to provide affordable housing.

Nicole Miller, with Project Build a Future, is also part of the alliance. 

"As this economic boon begins, we'll see the cost of housing increase over time and our concern is that those who have needs for affordable housing are going to be the ones who are cut out. As rents increase, they won't be able to afford those rents and we could wind up with a homeless problem resulting," said Miller.

Leonard Knapp is the Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity. 

"There's a dramatic need in this upcoming 5-to-7 year period and we hope to be a part of the solution, but we're only part of that," said Knapp.

And there's a big push for a State Housing Trust Fund - to help make sure future economic prosperity is felt throughout the community.

The Louisiana Housing Alliance is a non-profit statewide coalition. It's working to preserve and produce quality affordable housing for low and moderate income people and those with special needs.

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