Calcasieu Police Jury encourages public input about long-term hurricane recovery

Updated: Mar. 30, 2021 at 10:19 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury held a public meeting Tuesday to discuss long-term hurricane recovery plans, giving residents the opportunity to voice their concerns about recovery efforts.

Several members of the community attended the meeting to express their frustrations. Drainage issues, better infrastructure, and mental health were often brought up in the discussion.

Assistant to the Administrator, Alberto Galan says the purpose of the meeting was to gather the public’s input. The Calcasieu Policy Jury wants to be transparent through this community-driven process.

“The idea is to have this as a community-driven recovery, in terms of long-term recovery,” Galan said. “We know that we have those short-term needs: debris, housing and things like that. We have been working on those things since the disaster passed.”

The idea is to be as inclusive of the community as possible. A future plan will then be generated by early summer.

“We anticipate in a few weeks to a month to be able to roll out a lot more specifics, priorities, programs, needs and projects,” Galan said.

Working alongside FEMA guidelines, Galan says long-term recovery efforts will include improvements to infrastructure, health and social services and economic development.

“When FEMA issues a federal relief package, we are able to have a plan of priorities ready to go, in order to draw down those funds quicker, to spend them more efficiently in the community where it is needed,” Galan said.

Co-founder of The Vessel Project, Dominique Darbonne, says she and the co-founder attended the meeting to speak about preparation for hurricane season.

“We really just wanted to make sure that we could speak to the Police Jury about the upcoming emergency preparedness situation for our friends who are facing housing insecurities, or for our friends who are vulnerable,” Darbonne said.

The Vessel Project has provided disaster relief after the storms, and co-founder Roishetta Ozane believes money is not the only issue. She says mental illness and homelessness need to be addressed, as well.

“I just wanted them to know that even though money is a big part of it, that is not the only element when it comes to bringing the community back together,” Ozane said.

Those who missed this afternoon’s meeting can still submit comments by April 10. Visit calcasieuparish.gov/recovery to leave a comment.

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