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Families Wait for Affordable Housing in Shreveport - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Families Wait for Affordable Housing in Shreveport

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Families Wait for Affordable Housing in Shreveport Families Wait for Affordable Housing in Shreveport
SHREVEPORT, La -

October is Affordable Housing Month in Shreveport. Officials say there's just not enough homes to go around leaving some families homeless and hundreds of others living in sub-par conditions.

Veyonce Lars is a 4th grader at Sunset Acres Elementary School in Shreveport. Her family doesn't have a lot and they are making ends meet through the housing authority of the city of shreveport. She drew picture that was entered into a national contest, to show what home means to her. Veyonce says, a home to keep her family together is very important. "Its about your family and friends because if you didn't have family you wouldn't know what right from wrong was and if you don't know what right from wrong is, you'll make some bad choices in life."

Joanna Colacion moved to Shreveport with her family a few years ago. And now, she's thriving as a high school student and looking forward to college. "If housing wasn't here, I wouldn't have a house right now because we came here with nothing. I think it's a good thing for everybody to have a house, you know, and feel that good sense of community."She also drew a picture for the National What Home Means to Me contest. "I ran with the foundation idea because it did give us the foundation to make our way into the community."

Richard Herrington is the Executive Director and CEO for the Housing Authority. He said there are so many other families in our city that need help. "Everybody deserves a decent place to stay. It's kind of like having air to breathe and things of that nature."

Right now the Housing Authority manages 665 apartment homes  but there are a thousand other families on the waiting list.  And that's not all, the Federal Housing Voucher Program, commonly referred to as "Section 8," pays rent subsidies on 2,000 homes in the city of Shreveport. However, there are 24 hundred additional families on that waiting list. "They will probably be waiting for a while, and that while could be a couple of years." Herrington says, the system is failing the people it helps by allowing those who are not elderly or disabled to stay on indefinitely.  The national average for those living below the poverty level in 2010 was about 15%. But here in Shreveport in 2009, More than 23% of residents lived below poverty standards. And that number is expected to be on the rise. "So it went from going from a stepping stone of actually being here short term for which the law was established to be to keeping people here for a longer period of time and that's actually a federal law and not the housing authority's choice." 

With the government shutdown as the latest evidence of  Washington gridlock, there's little hope that it could change. But until that nearly 40 year old law is fixed, families who really need their services will have to continue to wait.

The Housing Authority of the City of Shreveport had local kids participate in the national contest called, "What Home Means to Me." The two young ladies featured in this story were contestants and on Tuesday, October 15th, the public is invited out to the housing authority's annual meeting to find out who the winners are and get an update on the status of affordable housing in the city.

For more information on how Louisiana stacks up against other states when it comes to state poverty levels and low income-working families click here <http://www.workingpoorfamilies.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Winter-2012_2013-WPFP-Data-Brief.pdf

 

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