$32 million grant program announced for rental restoration, development

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 7:25 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - As terrible as hurricanes and flooding have been for so many, there are also opportunities that come along with disasters.

The federal government has made $32 million available for hurricane and flood-stricken areas across the state to restore, rehab and in some cases rebuild small rental properties - that means those with seven units or fewer.

Lake Charles property owner Scott Stratton said the Rental Restoration and Development Program may help him get a small development he owns up and running again.

“I think it’s a good way to finish your property and get somebody back into it. It could be an advantage for a lot of people, both landlords and tenants,” said Stratton.

Nicole Miller is the program manager for the Calcasieu Police Jury’s Disaster Housing Recovery and said they have partnered with Louisiana Housing Corporation, “which offers grant funding to restore and reconstruct homes that were damaged due to the storm as long as those homes are utilized for affordable housing then the grant funds are fully forgivable.”

While the landlord must offer a rent below market value, after so many years of doing that, the property will be free and clear.

“It’s for non-profits, public housing agencies and small landlords. You can be a for-profit landlord to benefit from the program. You could have been a landlord previously, but you may not have been. Basically you have to have owned a piece of property that you now want to redevelop or reconstruct into low-rental housing,” said Miller.

Stratton thinks it’s good for the area and individuals.

“I think it’s going to be significant for the people we have to draw back into Louisiana because their rent rate will be 80% of the fair market value and that could be a help or a draw to pull these people we need back,” he said.

The program will accept applications May 1 through July 31.

Anyone who wishes to ask preliminary questions about the program may call the Calcasieu Office of Human Services at 337-721-4030. The office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and closed noon to 1 p.m. for lunch.