Study shows severe shortage of affordable housing in La.

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 7:56 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A report out this week says the shortage of affordable housing nationwide and in Louisiana has worsened. Those most vulnerable are those with the least amount of income.

The problems of the homeless linger from year to year., but the report says for every 45 affordable rental homes, there are 100 people with extremely low income.

Reggie Fontenot is one of those who stays with a relative for now.

“You know what depression is? It’s pretty bad. Every time I wake up, I think about my house. I go in there, there’s no roof. If it wasn’t for my mother I’d live on the street,” he said.

The report says the situation became worse because of higher utilities last year and now higher insurance and other expenses causes some who have homes to worry about losing them. Fontenot said with his check from the VA, there is no way he could pay rent and other living expenses.

“Because I just get a pension check from the VA, and when Hurricane Laura took my house, I couldn’t afford to rent a place. I mean, the cheapest place around here is between $850 and $1000 a month. That’s three quarters of my check,” he said.

The housing report says the shortage affects mental health, education, economics, health and overall well-being. Fontenot admits it’s not easy starting over at his age.

“I’m 67 and living with my mom. Eighty-four-year-old mother. Eighty-five let’s say. You know I haven’t lived at home since I was 18. I moved out, got me an apartment and then I joined the service. And I ain’t been home since,” said Fontenot.

Housing advocates call for Louisiana lawmakers to put housing first by dedicating more resources to the problem.

Here is the report.