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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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Work Begins on $3 Million Rental Housing Project

Work Begins on $3 Million Rental Housing Project

Work is under way at two sites, which will soon offer affordable rental housing for Lafourche Parish residents.  The 12, two-bedroom units will provide housing for low to moderate income people as well as physically challenged individuals.

A Raceland site, located on Greenville Street, will feature seven new homes and storage sheds.

A Thibodaux site, built in coordination with the Lafourche Association for Retarded Citizens (LARC), will include four houses with special handicap features, and one elderly unit. 

The two housing projects are funded with a $3 million Community Development Block Grant, provided to Lafourche Parish government as one of the five most damaged parishes after Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. The parish's total grant amounted to over $36 million. 

The houses in Raceland will be constructed and managed under the direction of the Lafourche Parish Housing Authority. The property upon which the houses will be constructed is owned by the Housing Authority.  Beryl Pitre, authority director, said this $1.4 million project affords low income families an opportunity to live in quality, independent standing houses, rather than the apartment style designs of the past.

"We're excited about offering these home sites to families," Pitre said. "These additional units will allow us to reduce the number of people on our current waiting list."

Construction is underway and expected to be complete in mid-November.  The LARC site, on Westover in Thibodaux, is on property purchased with LARC funds. The five units will be built for just over $1 million. The contractor will complete the project by mid-September.  LARC Director Lester Adams said he is "grateful to the parish for the grant funds as these specially designed houses will enable individuals to live in the community with some degree of independence," he said.  The plan for each site is for each entity to collect rent to maintain and insure the properties, with any excess held in reserve until more units can be built.

"Gustav and Ike, as well as Katrina and Rita before them, revealed a dire need for sturdy, dependable rental housing," Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph said. "This grant, and the projects it is funding, helps us mitigate against future damage, allowing evacuees to return home after a storm with little or no damage.”

“We partnered with these two agencies, LARC and the Housing Authority, because of their successful track record with housing, and we are confident the tenants will be well served," she said. 

Weimer, Gros, Flores, LLC of Thibodaux is the architectural firm for each project. J. C. Lewis Construction of Center, Texas, was the low bidder. 

The Affordable Rental Program is part of $43 million in varied projects scheduled to begin or be completed in Lafourche Parish in 2014. The funds to build the projects include grant money, bond proceeds, taxes and royalty revenue.