Lake Charles Housing Authority director on disaster funding

Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 9:43 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - As the clock ticks to secure federal disaster funding, public officials are concerned for the future of our area’s recovery.

The state has secured $600 million and started the public comment period for the action plan that will designate this funding to unmet disaster recovery needs.

In the fight to secure more funding, last month, local and state leaders advocated for one last attempt at being heard, and in an interview Mayor Nic Hunter voiced his concerns.

“Our hope is what we would finally receive from the feds would be about $1.5 million, so when the figure came back at $600 million, it was like another slap in the face,” Mayor Hunter said.

Mayor Hunter said the money would likely be allocated for housing, in which Director of Lake Charles Housing Authority Ben Taylor agrees will only grace the surface of what is actually needed.

“We’re going to be more reliant on FEMA,” Taylor said. “You know, I don’t know where else to go to be honest with you.”

He explains that construction for the city’s section eight housing is a work in progress, as the city works along side insurance adjusters. But, it’s a demand that they can’t meet.

“We’re constantly in contact with our clients that left Lake Charles because we gave them a voucher,” Taylor said. “The vast majority of them want to come back, but we simply don’t have enough housing yet.”

Taylor attended Wednesday night’s public hearing for the state’s action plan. In addition to the lack of funding, he said the programs outlined in the plan fail to assist the city’s rental programs.

“It’s inconceivable to me that HUD, in its infinite wisdom decides that only happens in the homeowner market and not the rental market,” Taylor said. “They are putting on the same kind of shingles on as I am. You know, all that stuff is the same.”

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