A few weeks ago, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy tried to get federal hurricane relief to SWLA by including provisions for relief in amendment No. 2210 of the infrastructure bill. But it was not to be.
In the words of Alice, of Wonderland fame, the story of federal hurricane relief just gets “curiouser and curiouser.” To me, a hurricane relief payment provision is a no-brainer, especially in an infrastructure bill. But in fact, Kennedy’s amendment lost by a bigger margin than any other amendment to the bill, as it was shot down by a vote of 19-79.
Lake Charles Newsletter
Due to the relentless procession of weather disasters that’s pummeled the Lake Area (and the federal government’s failure to provide adequate relief for them), the Advocate has now started publishing a “Lake Charles Newsletter.” You get it by email every Wednesday.
The Advocate now publishes three editions: Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Acadiana.
To see all the paper’s stories about Lake Charles, go to theadvocate.com/lake_charles/. As far as I can tell, right now the Advocate isn’t providing a really easy way to sign up for the newsletter. So if you want to get it, you’ll need to type in all the letters and numbers in this link: theadvocate.com/html_212cef28-b430-11eb-b9fa-2b8a21c0c177.html.
Explore Alternatives To Evictions
The brief federal extension of the COVID-19 moratorium on evictions may soon come to an end. But the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury’s Human Services Dept. is informing local residents that they can seek rental assistance to help prevent them from being evicted when the moratorium is scheduled to end on Oct. 3.
Local programs that can help include the Human Services’ Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program, which is taking applications. The program provides funding for past-due rental payments. It can also help with rent that hasn’t come due yet and with late rental fees and past-due utility costs. Renters will need to demonstrate that they have been financially affected by COVID, meet local income requirements and are behind on their rent. To get more information or to apply, visit calcasieuparish.gov/ERA.
Other resources include the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides utility assistance to households with incomes that qualify. And the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program pays the first month’s rent and damage deposit for households with an income that qualifies.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has information on its website about what residents can do to apply for money to cover rent and utilities; visit consumerfinance.gov/renters. The Catholic Charities of SWLA provide rent, mortgage and help with utilities. Call 337-439-7436 to make an appointment.
Christ the King Catholic Church offers emergency rental and utility assistance for those within the church’s boundaries; call 337-478-0213. Care Help of Sulphur provides emergency rental and utility assistance for those in Sulphur, Carlyss, Westlake, Vinton, DeQuincy and Starks. Call 337-287-4793.
If tenants are facing eviction, they are encouraged to contact their landlords to try to work out a plan. If eviction seems unavoidable, tenants may want to try to obtain legal advice. Options for free and low-cost legal advice include the Acadiana Legal Service Corporation (ALSC), which provides free legal assistance in civil cases to those who could not otherwise afford it. Eligibility for services is based on the applicant’s income, age, financial resources, the merits of the case and the resources ALSC has available. Visit la-law.org or call 337-439-0377.
Also, the Southwest Louisiana Law Center provides legal advice and support to low-income households on a sliding scale. Call 337-436-3308 for information.
To find other state or local agencies you can apply to for rental assistance, visit cfpb.gov/govrent or call 211 or your local housing authority. You may also want to contact the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s housing counseling program at 800-569-4287 or visit consumerfinance.gov/find-a-housing-counselor.
New Sowela Welding Instruction
Sowela is opening a renovated welding classroom and workshop at the college’s Oakdale site. The program will offer both combination pipe and structural welding training.
The new technology, which is said to be state-of-the-art, includes plasma cutters, promethean boards and computers.
Instruction at the school covers techniques of oxy-fuel, carbon arc and plasma arc cutting; and shielded metal arc, gas tungsten arc, flux-cored arc, gas metal arc and pipe welding. Other topics include blueprint reading, welding symbols and joints.
Students who complete the program will have covered the skills required by the American Welding Society (AWS) and will be prepared to take the AWS Entry Level Welder Test.
The median wage for those in the welding field in Louisiana is $55,920. Currently, there are 12,000 welders in the state.
In 2021, Sowela was named Wallet Hub’s No. 1 community college in Louisiana for the third straight year. It was also ranked No. 27 among all 698 community colleges in the U.S.
Welding classes are available at all three Sowela locations.
Sowela also offers technical and academic programs in such career fields as aviation maintenance, industrial electrical technology, vehicle maintenance, forest technology, sterile processing and practical nursing. For more information, visit sowela.edu/apply.
Viruses and weather crises have not changed the traditional rivalry between Lake Charles and Lafayette. In spite of the rivalry, though, the two cities have always had much in common. Love of Cajun food and music and of football are often cited as similarities. The cities have at least two more things in common: love of urban sprawl and hatred of annexation. The Current also provided this statement:
“Lafayette is continuing to sprawl out, with nearly one in three homes built in Carencro or Youngsville and almost half of listings sold in south Lafayette Parish.” Sound like any other place you’re familiar with?
Par For The Course
Using the letterhead of the Office of the Attorney General, Louisiana’s AG Jeff Landry recently wrote the Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette — that’s right, the bishop — explaining that Landry was really miffed because his child will have to wear a mask at Catholic school. He had the cheek to sign the letter “a parishioner.”
At least (as far as I know) Landry is not suing the bishop or the Catholic schools (as he recently sued the tiny Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Monroe over its masking rules; when the judge asked why the state was suing this school, Landry quickly backed out). One Twitter wit recently Tweeted, “I wish I loved something — anything — half as much as Jeff Landry likes to lose in court.”
Groups Lobby For Lafayette Shelter
Apparently Acadiana is having a big problem with a major increase in homelessness. More than half a dozen Lafayette housing agencies have formally requested that the Lafayette City Government spend $6.5 million to help build a new homeless shelter.
Signing on to the letter to the government were the Acadiana Regional Coalition on Homelessness and Housing, the Catholic Charities of Acadiana, Beacon Community Connections, the Faith House, Family Promise, Acadiana Cares and the Hub.
These organizations propose spending $3 million to acquire a building and rehabilitate it; $2.5 million to pay for four years of operation of the building; and $1 million for an additional shelter that would house those who are trying to escape from domestic abuse.
The organizations involved claim that a lack of shelter has been a severe problem in the city for the last 18 months, and that the LCG has used few resources to deal with the problem; instead, they say, the LCG has argued that there are sufficient funds to handle the problem.
The groups have been using an emergency hotel program that’s been providing shelter since COVID broke out in March, 2020. Some families who have gone through the program have managed to find permanent housing by now. But the organizers say the program is now winding down.