Residents required to vacate 190 public housing units in Lake Charles alone
LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Many people from Southwest Louisiana remain displaced from Hurricanes Laura and Delta. And it’s perhaps hardest on low income people who have fewer resources than many.
Off Anita Drive is Meadow Park which looks like a ghost town. Almost everyone is gone, after receiving notices to vacate.
But Barry Schannette, his wife and five children, ranging in age from ten to 18, are still there.
“We were told we have to move, but where we gonna go?” he said.
Schannette says he’s disabled and feels as though so much has gone wrong he is overwhelmed.
“We’ve been going through living hell since we got back from the hurricane,” said Schannette.
Lake Charles Housing Director Ben Taylor says housing for low income people took a terrible hit in the hurricanes.
“We’ve lost approximately at least a third of our Section 8, which is housing choice voucher programs, housing, housing stock; and we’ve lost approximately 190 of 500 public housing units,” said Taylor.
He says they had to issue notices to vacate so that unlivable property can be repaired which will likely take six to eight months.
“If I was them and I had a voucher I would probably port to an available place and we’ve got a list of available housing jurisdictions and authorities that have said they will accept them. Houston has done it, Harris county, Lafayette, Ville Platte, Baton Rouge, New Orleans,” he said.
Taylor says people who have not been able to find housing should contact FEMA.
“I’m sure they have a FEMA number. They need to contact FEMA, show them that notice to vacate, they will be placed in the non-congregate program of FEMA. They will put them in a hotel room or FEMA trailer, something like that, while their unit is being repaired,” said Taylor.
Taylor says they would welcome anyone willing to utilize their property to provide housing under the Section 8 program.
Barry has contacted FEMA of their predicament and is waiting for word. Meanwhile, he’s grateful for what is going right.
“I wake up every morning. Thank the Lord for that,” he said.
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