Lake Charles renters concerned with prices

Lake Charles renters concerned with prices

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - We've heard the cries from locals about a need for more housing. But what about renters?

There's no shortage of 'For Rent' or 'Now Leasing' signs across Lake Charles, but it's how much rent is that's becoming a concern.

"I knew housing would be more expensive. But it just shocked me how expensive it is," said Lauren Dauzat, a renter in Lake Charles.

Coming from Marksville, Dauzat knows the struggle of finding affordable housing in the city.

"When we spoke to the office manager she said she had one apartment available. Basically she advised us to jump on it now because it would be taken within the next few days," explained Dauzat.

So they signed a lease for a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment for $930 a month. Already, the rent's scheduled to go up.

And Dauzat's story isn't unique.

With the influx of workers moving in, rent prices continue to increase.

"The average price a couple years ago for a three- bedroom, two-bath would have been somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000 maybe $1,200 just depending on the amenities and the property," said Ashley Matte, lease manager with Ingle Safari Realty.

Matte said now, expect to pay a few hundred more for that same apartment, "anywhere from $1,200 a month on up to $16 ($1,600) or 18 ($1,800)."

"It's becoming more difficult for people here in our community to find affordable housing," said Mayor Randy Roach.

Roach has heard the concerns - saying many workers coming here receive a per diem. This is not the case with most locals.

"Our local residents are probably the ones who are being adversely impacted the most, simply because their salaries are not increasing; they're not being paid a pier diem or an additional stipend," explained Roach.

But with more construction projects slated, Roach said the problem isn't expected to end any time soon. It's why the city hopes to help find a solution.

"We're working with the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and we're issuing an RFP and the RFP is intended to help us select a consultant," said Roach.

Roach said the consultant would advise local government on to help stimulate the local market - particularly rentals $1,000 a month or less - the city's greatest need.

"We're not seeing the market filling that need," said Roach.

In the meantime, Dauzat's family of four and little one on the way continue their search.

"We would love to be able to find something with more space for the same price but I don't have high hopes in finding that," said Dauzat.

Roach said they hope to issue the RFP sometime next week.

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