Baton Rouge: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have awarded Louisiana funding for rental assistance to help extremely low-income people who have disabilities find affordable housing in their communities. This opportunity, provided through HUD, is a result of the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (PRA Demo). PRA Demo assists people with disabilities who earn less than 30 percent of the median income in their parish of residence and require long-term services and supports to live in their community as independently as possible.
Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC) will receive $8.25 million in rent subsidy and 200 units of integrated housing for people with disabilities. The LHC will be working closely with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) to target people who could live in their communities with support but are currently living in an institutional setting or are at risk of institutionalization, as well as homeless persons or persons at risk of homelessness. LHC and DHH partnered in 2007 as part of the Gulf Opportunity (GO) Zone Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Program, forming an Executive Management Counsel (EMC) to govern the program.
"DHH is extremely proud of the work of both our staff and LHC to help combat chronic homelessness," said DHH Deputy Secretary Kathy Kliebert. "With the support from HUD, we hope to get Louisiana residents who have disabilities out of institutions and into a community setting. DHH stands ready to assist with that transition so that each person has an opportunity to become valued members of their community."
"The award of the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration funds is a great example of why the Louisiana Housing Corporation was created, "said Nicole Sweazy, LHC Housing Authority Administrator. "The state Permanent Supportive Housing program was previously limited to the disaster-impacted areas of the state. The transition of the already successful Permanent Supportive Housing program to the Louisiana Housing Corporation gave the Corporation the ability to apply for the Section 811 funding and expand the program statewide. This is such an exciting opportunity, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the Department of Health and Hospitals."
"This program, thanks to the efforts of LHC and the State of Louisiana, will help 200 disabled Louisianans to have a home and a quality life," said Dan Carmon, HUD's New Orleans Field Office Director. "These same people would be in danger of becoming homeless without their efforts. HUD and HHS are proud partners in this program, which can help states both attack the problems of homelessness as well as reduce health care costs."
The PRA Demo units will be identified and funded as part of the state's Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program selection process. LHC is committing $1.25 million over the five-year grant period in HOME Tenant-Based Rental Assistance to provide security and utility deposit assistance to all households that require the additional assistance in obtaining housing. New Orleans will also be participating in the Dedicating Opportunities to End Homelessness (DOEH) Initiative, along with 10 other communities with critical homeless rates. The rental assistance awarded to the state coincides with DOEH Initiative, which is part of a long-term approach to prevent and end homelessness.
HUD Regional Administrator, Mark Brezina, will present LHC and DHH with the Section 811 check on Wednesday, March 11 at 1p.m. The presentation will take place at Hotel Acadiana, located at 1801 W. Pinhook Rd., Lafayette, LA 70508. For questions regarding the event, please call Eric Gammons at (337)255-5448 .