Housing concerns spike following Hurricane Ida

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – With an existing housing shortage in Louisiana, Hurricane Ida is not making it easier for people to find affordable housing.

Baton Rouge Realtor Dillon Thompson says this is a perfect time to buy a home because of low-interest rates. However, the problem is high demand and low supply.

“Housing just keeps getting shorter and shorter as far as supply is concerned,” he said.

Thompson says his clients are in such desperate need of housing they make decisions within hours.

“Over the course of the last three months I can’t tell you how many contracts I’ve actually written inside of the home I’m showing,” Thompson said.

According to a study from LSU, there were about 46 affordable units for every 100 low-income households in 2016. The demand has increased since Hurricane Ida.

“We’re seeing an influx of people from the bayou parishes so places like Terrebonne and Lafourche, even some Plaquemines Parish and St. Bernard, those people need a place to go and so, you know, they’ve been contacting us and looking for some sort of short term rental,” Thompson said.

Louisiana senators John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy say they’re both pushing for federal assistance for housing but no plans have been set yet.

“I don’t want to give the government more money to build housing. Most of my people have houses. They were damaged, they need to get back to their original houses and what I’m working on is [getting] money to people,” Kennedy said.

“We have to have affordable housing that is built to hurricane code in the places where people live and work,” Cassidy said.

Residents with uninhabitable homes have the option to apply for FEMA housing assistance.

“It’s called Transitional Sheltering Assistance. This is temporary housing to put a roof over people’s heads. There are two main ways that we do this, either providing assistance, financial aid for people to rent temporary housing or we can place people in a hotel,” said Nathan Custer, FEMA representative.

According to Thompson, people are considering moving from the bayou parishes to the Ascension and Baton Rouge areas.

Hurricane Ida survivors in need of Individual Assistance can apply with FEMA for assistance by using the FEMA app, visiting online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-758.

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