Reported By: Lee Peck
It was lunch with Santa Tuesday afternoon, as the big man in red spread Christmas cheer with the residents of Chateau du Lac. Opening their gift bags, residents have a lot to be thankful for as many will be spending this holiday in a newly renovated apartment.
"We are really happy with all of the work that is going on here," said Lake Charles Housing Authority Director Ben Taylor.
Taylor says renovations on Chateau du Lac's 198 units are two thirds finished, making way next year for more affordable low-income housing for the Lake Area's disabled and elderly residents.
"They are as happy as we are that everything is fixed for them and going really well. It was a long fight, but we are really happy with the way things are progressing right now," says Taylor.
Residents say it was well worth the wait. "Oh, it's like moving into a new home. Everything's fresh, new and clean and it's just marvelous," said resident Daniel Pruett.
"I stand tall and I say they've done a beautiful job," said resident Mary Jane Carston.
"Oh, I love it... I sleep good at night... I have new furniture. It's nice," said resident Vernelle Arbrecht.
Since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, there has been a critical need for low-income housing all across the state. Here in Southwest Louisiana, Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach says officials are providing developers with low-income tax credits to build.
"It gives them an incentive to build nice homes that would typically sell for much more, but allow those homes to be rented for very reasonable rates and to be sold at very reasonable rates," said Mayor Roach.
As work continues on Chateau du Lac's remaining 60 units, if you're in need of low income housing apply now. Recently approved, Judy August is looking forward to a new room with a view. "Well, I'll be on the 8th floor. I'll get to see the water. I'll get to see the parades, fireworks and I just think it's wonderful. And I'll get to meet new neighbors. What more could you ask for," said August.
Full renovations are expected to be complete by late spring of 2008. Those eligible can stop by Chateau du Lac during business hours. To apply you'll need a social security card, proof of income and birth certificate.