Affordable housing still hard to find - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Affordable housing still hard to find

By Theresa Schmidt

Seems there are lots of homes and apartments that have or are being built since Hurricane Rita.  But there continues to be a shortage of affordable housing.  But the Calcasieu Council on Aging is spearheading one local effort to deal with the problem.

This Christmas Betty Doyle is enjoying the cozy comfort of her new apartment in DeQuincy.

"I can look around and see the things that God has blessed me with." Betty's apartment is in the new housing complex for elderly sponsored by the Calcasieu Council on Aging. It's housing for low income elderly with subsidized rent. But many others like Clyde Hadnot continue to live in sub-standard housing made worse from the hurricane. He lives off Patty Moss Road in the Mossville area.  "That sheet rock, I was sitting in the den one night and some of it fell on my back. Sheet rock, a big ole piece. It was all crumbled up."

Kitsey Edwards is the chief financial officer and housing manager for the CCOA.  She says they hear from many living in sub-standard housing since the hurricane,  who cannot afford rents for apartments available.  That's why Edwards says they are working to establish more housing complexes such as this one in DeQuincy.  "Everyone says they know there's a need,  but they can't figure out how to make it happen. You get a little bit of money, you get a short period to develop a project and send in an application and then you wait for a long time and by the time you get it awarded you still can't make it happen because the funding source has dried up or the prices have gone up so much. It's just really difficult."

The complex in DeQuincy has fourteen apartments and since it opened last summer, they have stayed full.

 Betty hopes more will be done to help alleviate the suffering of those still in need of decent housing.  "Whatever it takes, whatever procedures they go through to build these. Low income, high, everyone needs a place to live."

The CCOA has elderly housing projects in the works for Iowa and Vinton and is pursuing a development for north Lake Charles.

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