LAKE CHARLES, La. (BRPROUD) — Governor John Bel Edwards announced millions of dollars will be going towards helping the housing crisis in Lake Charles following two hurricanes and historic flooding.
Southwest Louisiana will be getting $11.3 million that will be used directly for the housing situation the Lake Charles mayor described as dire.
Over $5 million is being provided by HUD while the state and city are pitching in to create grants for homeowners to rebuild.
“It’s going to help those who need it the most. We’re going to start out with low-to-moderate income individuals and that is our goal,” Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said. “Those who were underinsured or uninsured.”
There is an estimated $1 billion needed to address the housing needs in SWLA after the multiple disasters. Mayor Hunter has been advocating for more federal aid for over a year stating that Lake Charles has waited longer than any other city after a disaster.
With this grant, people can apply for up to $50,000 to help rebuild their single-family homes. Even if people already have gotten grants they can apply.
“In many instances, those FEMA awards were not enough to really establish themselves in healthy, sustainable housing. We feel this program is going to help fill a gap,” Hunter said.
While the mayor and governor agree this is a good step in the right direction, there is still a great need in the area. The governor recently traveled to Washington D.C. to advocate for more disaster relief. $595 million has already been allocated for SWLA.
“The $595 [million] is a good start but it’s not enough to meet the housing need if it all went to housing and you can’t even put it all towards housing based on the constraints we have,” Gov. Edwards said.
The applications have not been launched yet, but it will be handled on the local level.
The governor’s visit to Washington to meet with the Louisiana delegation and White House was also to ask for more relief aid for Hurricane Ida as well as for the southwest. Discussions around more aid are expected in Congress early next month.