First Person with Will Wade, Head Coach, McNeese State University Men’s BasketballDecember 2023
Bringing Light and Life to Lake CharlesDecember 2023
After more than two decades of building quality homes at affordable prices — offering people a path to homeownership and financial success — Project Build a Future now looks toward a year ahead that will produce the first results from the most ambitious project in the agency’s history.
The not-for-profit Project Build a Future builds homes in areas north of Broad Street in Lake Charles and helps people qualify to own them.
“Our mission is simple — engage in quality, affordable homeownership initiatives that will revitalize and beautify our target area,” said Charla Blake, executive director. “Affordability is a cornerstone of our mission, but that’s not what solely defines our work,” Blake said. “We also pride ourselves on providing quality services to the community and building quality homes for our clients.”
Project Build a Future homes that provide pride and hope for potential homebuyers as well as an opportunity for a stable financial future.
The agency’s homebuyer counseling program and other financial education programs are intended to lay a solid foundation for financial success for its clients. In that regard, not a single home has gone into foreclosure since the agency’s efforts began in 2001.
A Service-Minded Nonprofit
Project Build a Future is a nonprofit organization committed to revitalizing our target area — the sections north of Broad Street in Lake Charles — through quality, affordable home-ownership initiatives.
Its programs include:
- Home-buyer counseling
- Home-buyer education classes
- Lease-to-purchase arrangements
- New construction of high-quality homes
Building New Homes
The agency’s New Construction program builds homes that are intended to be an asset both to the neighborhood and to the homebuyer. Homes are generally three bedrooms and two baths. They are built to hurricane standards and include energy-efficient features, crown molding, ceiling fans, and open floor plans. Client homebuyers can help pick flooring, interior paint colors, the finish on electrical fixtures, and other details.
Program participants begin the path to home ownership with the Homebuyer Counseling and Education program. Homebuyer counselors meet individually with homebuyers to work on budgets, examine income, and determine how much home a family can afford. For participants with credit or debt issues, homebuyer counselors work closely with the homebuyers to help them repair their credit, reduce their debt, start saving, and ultimately get into a position to obtain mortgage approval and to purchase a home.
What’s Ahead? More Homes
Next up is a development of multiple adjacent homes.
The agency will make a major announcement about this effort at the turn of the year — but so far, Project Build a Future has already suggested that this will be the most ambitious undertaking in its history.
“We’ve set our sights on growth,” Blake said. “We’re planning to build even more homes in 2024 and help even more families achieve the American Dream of owning their own home.”
The centerpiece of the year ahead will be the first phase of an eventual neighborhood of homes off Fitzenreiter Road. The effort will start with building three to four homes in 2024.
Overall, the sweeping initiative effort entails:
- Building quality, affordable homes of 1,000 square feet (two bedrooms), 1,400 square feet (three bedrooms) and 1,800 square feet (four bedrooms).
- Ensuring they are fortified and resilient against hurricanes.
- Deploying environmentally conscious development.
- Using multiple exterior styles.
- Securing construction gap funding through private and business supporters.
- Gathering subsidies by government, city and parish grants, and financial lenders.
Everyone Can Help
There are multiple ways the community can help meet the challenge of offering affordable homes. Some givers help directly with generous donations to the program — and some of these are matched by employers’ matching gift programs. Others help by donating building materials, equipment, furniture, appliances or professional services related to homebuilding. Land for new homes is always needed, of course. The agency acquires property by fair-market-value purchase, donation, or a combination of both.