SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS)
Shreveport’s Department of Community Development is getting ready to finalize their next five-year plan for the City.
The department is involved in all kinds of programs, from addressing homelessness to affordable housing.
Since Shreveport has more than 50-thousand residents it is considered an “entitlement city” that qualifies for various federal grant programs. So every five years, the Department of Community Development updates its five-year plan to address the most critical needs. The staff shared the data during a public meeting Monday evening inside New Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church.
“What would you say is different in the past five years? Well the complexion of the community has changed somewhat. We have a slight increase in poverty and slight decline in population,” said Bonnie Moore, Community Development director.
Moore said they expect Shreveport’s poverty rate to increase after the next Census. While federal funding has continued to decrease over the years.
“Federal funding has decreased significantly over the last ten years, probably 57-percent for us. The needs are growing and the funding is diminishing,” Moore said.
Moore said the biggest needs are affordable housing and economic development. Which grant programs help with. Including one project that helped a woman named Ms. Lucy receive a new home.
“She had no means to take a bath or wash her clothes. She came to us simply looking for a tarp to keep the rain out of her house and when inspectors went out and brought back that very disturbing picture back to us, it just took us away and we built her a new house and she now lives in that house,” Moore said.
Other projects include the Paint Your Heart Out initiative where the Department of Community Development oversaw the painting of more than 50 distressed homes in Shreveport. The also serve seven homeless facilities in the area.
Moore said they ask for public input and include data from consultant work along with stakeholders in the community.
“We wanted to make sure that people were involved in this. That this was an inclusive plan and this was a plan that addressed the prevalent needs in our community,” Moore said.
The plan should be finalized in the next two weeks. People can send their comments to the City of Shreveport’s website.