Family gets new home thanks to grant program

Published 1:57 am Saturday, January 12, 2008

RIDGECREST — Cynthia Evans just loves her new porch. And beyond that, her new kitchen, new bathroom and new bedrooms.

Evans, along with husband Jerry and 17-year-old son Brent, were the recipients of a new modular home, compliments of the Louisiana Restore Share grant program.

The program, designed to rehabilitate homes for people who own the home but cannot afford all of the necessary repairs to bring it to code, will provide similar opportunities for 54 other families in the state this year.

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But the Evans family was the very first one on the list, and Cynthia wiped grateful tears from her eyes as she was handed the keys to her new home Friday.

Because she relies on a wheelchair for mobility, Cynthia said she really appreciates the wheelchair ramp that came with the new home.

“I couldn’t get in and out of my old house,” she said.

The Evans family received a new modular home because of the work it would have taken to bring their old home up to Louisiana’s new building code.

“The program was designed to restore existing housing stock, but it became clear it was not possible to rehabilitate some of that stock,” Louisiana Housing Finance Agency Program Administrator Tina Powell said.

When they heard they would receive the new modular home, the Evans family packed up and moved into the Ferriday Elderly Apartments because they had accommodations for Cynthia’s wheelchair.

Then they began the wait, but they didn’t wait long.

“They had the old house torn down in one day,” Jerry Evans said. “Then they brought in the new house on Friday and had it together on Saturday.”

Cynthia admitted she might have been a little hesitant about receiving the new home at first.

“When you hear that they’re going to tear down your home that you have lived in for years, you pause,” she said. “But this is really just a blessing.”

The modular home was built in two pieces in a factory to the same construction codes as if it had been built onsite, said Lenny Kapowski, Chief Executive Officer of Lodgic, LLC., which built the house.

The Evans family were ideal participants in the program, project manager Clark Palmer said.

“They were eager but never impatient, and very appreciative of everything,” he said.

Cynthia Evans said she had had hopes of getting repairs done to her old home when she applied for the grant, but she had not expected its eventual outcome.

“A whole new home,” she said. “How blessed is that?”