City council to vote on developing 20 North Lake Charles adjudicated properties into homes

Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 10:08 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - New efforts to combat the housing crisis in North Lake Charles were among the items discussed at Wednesday’s city council meeting.

More housing could be on the way to District A with a one year pilot program in partnership with the African American Chamber of Commerce of Lake Charles (AACCLC).

“The inspiration was just making sure that people still had access to housing in Lake Charles,” said JayVon Muhammad, AACCLC advisory board member.

Muhammad said the homes would retail somewhere between $150,000 and $180,000. The plan is to take 20 adjudicated properties, work with the city to clear the titles, and develop them into homes, giving priority to first time buyers, veterans, middle income families and those who were displaced by the hurricanes.

“In a community that’s lost so many people after the hurricanes, 20 families impacts the economy, you know, it increases property taxes when we look at the value. There’s a lot of benefits to bringing 20 families back into the community,” Muhammad said.

The project includes spending $25,000 of subsequent reimbursement funds from the city that would be used in an effort to provide financial literacy education to the potential homeowners.

“We are requiring all potential home buyers to go through education that prepares them to purchase the home, but not only purchase the home, to maintain the home,” Muhammad said.

Muhammad, along with others backing the AACCLC’s cooperative endeavor agreement with the city, presented at Wednesday’s city council meeting seeking the green light. The initiative brought forth some support by the council.

“As they said, it’s a pilot program and so it’s a matter of seeing if it’s going to work. And I think it’s definitely worth our while to give them that opportunity to see if they can actually get some houses built,” said District G Councilmember Mark Eckard.

However, some city council members think more time is needed to make a decision.

“I don’t think that the answers that I have requested have come forward enough for me to be able to vote and make a decision tonight,” District B Councilmember Luvertha August said.

The council voted to deferred the item and will make a decision at the Sept. 21 meeting.