Thursday, December 8, 2016
St. John the Baptist Parish – St. John Parish officials are pleased to announce that more than 70 homes damaged by Hurricane Isaac were recently renovated through the Homeowner Rehabilitation Program. An additional 45 homes are currently under construction, with more than 225 more to be completed in the upcoming months. Other residents will benefit from Homebuyers Assistance and Elevation programs through the CDBG initiative.
In August of 2012, Hurricane Isaac ravished St. John Parish damaging thousands of homes and businesses resulting in a variety of unmet needs. To assist homeowners with long-term recovery and to begin building the Parish back bigger, better and stronger, St. John was awarded $32 million in grant funds through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery Program. A portion of those funds were allocated toward housing programs for rehabilitation, reconstruction, elevation and purchasing.
Homeowner and housing program participant Sharon Boudoin was one of the recipients of the grant program. Ms. Boudoin said,”I was very satisfied with the professional manner in which work was conducted; they did an outstanding job and I appreciate all of the help to get me back on my feet.”
Program participant Patricia Wallace added, “Throughout the process, when I had an issue, as soon as I called, it was immediately resolved.” “I am so happy about the renovations especially the painting and floor just in time to spend the holidays with my family.”
Last year, more than 40 local contractors were solicited to assist with the repair work. One of the contractors, Michael Chatmon of Chatmon Construction, called the experience gratifying: “The ability to serve the community that I am a resident of has been extremely challenging, rewarding, and self- fulfilling. I am enthusiastic about the future of SJB Parish as well as grateful for the opportunity given to serve SJB Parish in this capacity.”
The Elevation and Homebuyer Assistance programs are also moving forward and presently 5 elevation projects have been awarded. Contractors are performing engineering and design services to begin the project. Actual construction for elevated homes will begin within the next 30 days. Applications are still being accepted for the Homebuyers Assistance Program and workshops to assist homebuyers with the process will be scheduled in the upcoming weeks.
Another component of the CDBG program, the Small Business Loan and Grant program, has facilitated monetary allocations for 14 local businesses. Applications will reopen for the program in the next few weeks. Once finalized, more information on the latter will be released through the Communications Department.