La. getting $8.2M to house 200 homeless people

Janet Mcconnaughey, Associated Press
March 14, 2013

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- As the Louisiana Conference on Homelessness and Housing opened in Lafayette, the state-chartered Louisiana Housing Corp. received $8.2 million to be used for rent subsidies for 200 disabled homeless people.

The first 100 apartments will be in complexes around the state approved last year for construction tax credits and the next 100 will be applying for credits this year, said Nicole Sweazy, the corporation's housing authority administrator.

"The areas we're hoping to expand would be Shreveport, Alexandria, Monroe ... areas where there are services for our target population," she said.

Sweazy said the money will cover five years of rent subsidies for disabled homeless people who need long-term support and earn less than 30 percent of their parish's median income.

It's designed to let them pay at most 30 percent of their adjusted monthly income on rent and utilities. That would be $192 a month for someone on Social Security disability, Sweazy said.

The money comes from a program run by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Health and Human Services. It's the first time in Louisiana that this program has been used outside of disaster areas, Sweazy said.

HUD Regional Administrator Mark Brezina presented the check to state officials Wednesday at the conference hosted by the Acadiana Regional Coalition on Homelessness and Housing.

The conference schedule also includes dozens of presentations. Some are about the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the national program called 100,000 Homes, housing opportunities for people with AIDS, Veterans Affairs homeless programs, helping victims of domestic violence and teaching homeless students.