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Sunday, June 16, 2019

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Affordable housing units near completion in Thibodaux, Raceland

Affordable housing units near completion in Thibodaux, Raceland

Two sets of affordable housing units are almost ready to be moved in to, according to officials with Lafourche Parish Government, the Housing Authority of Lafourche Parish and Lafourche Arc.

The two-bedroom, single-family units are the result of the successful distribution of $3 million in federal Community Development Block Grant dollars that were received by Lafourche Parish Government in 2011 as part of the Hurricane Gustav/Ike Recovery Program.

Five of the units were constructed in Thibodaux behind LaCasa Del Sol Mexican Restaurant on Westover Drive, while the other seven are located in Raceland on Greenville Street.

"These are low-to-moderate income homes for those who meet certain guidelines and qualifications. The homes (in Thibodaux) are also for people with special needs as well. We are ahead of schedule and only have a few items left to be completed," Lafourche Parish Housing Authority Executive Director Beryl Pitre said.

Weimer Gros Flores, LLC, and J.C. Lewis Construction, LLC, were charged with the architectural design and construction, while Terry Arabie, a Projects Manager with Lafourche Parish Government, served as the head of performance monitoring to make sure certain deadlines were met without incident.

Housing projects such as these in Thibodaux and Raceland continue to slowly address an affordable housing and rental shortage in the parish.

A lack of affordable housing factored heavily into the decision to draft, apply and ultimately get accepted for federal grant money following hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008. Upon completion, the homes in Thibodaux will be turned over to Lafourche ARC with the Housing Authority of Lafourche overseeing the dwellings in the Raceland area.

One of the individuals that already secured an apartment in Raceland is 27-year-old Lafourche Parish resident Brittany Washington. The single, working mother of two said the Affordable Housing Unit is a Godsend for her and her family. Washington is hopeful housing options such as these become more commonplace in future years.

"I am so thankful for the parish doing this," said Washington, who was told she would probably be able to move in to her unit in about two weeks. "It is so hard to find something reasonably priced, let alone new these days. I can't wait to move in, and I hope others have the same opportunity as me to find this type of housing for them and their families."

The money collected from rent will be directed back into the units to maintain and insure them with any additional money going toward more low-income housing.

"We decided after hurricanes Gustav and Ike that we needed to make further investments into our parish and what was truly a dire need for sturdy, dependable rental housing," Parish President Charlotte Randolph said. "It is exciting to see the grant money awarded to us be used on such worthwhile projects like these that will provide quality housing to multiple families in our parish for years to come."