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Mar 24, 2010 7:29 PM by Melissa Hawkes

Opelousas Receives 2.8 Million in Federal Funds

Cities in St. Landry Parish are getting a make-over, thanks to 12.7 million dollars in federal funds. That money was awarded to help the parish recover from damage in the wake of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav.

The biggest winner of the funds is Opelousas.

Don Menard, St. Landry Parish President, said, "They got 22% of the total dollar amount allocated to the parish which is 12.7 million, their share equated to 2.8 million."

Opelousas received the largest portion of the funds because it suffered the most hurricane damage.

Opelousas Mayor, Donald Cravins Sr. said, "It's going to go a long way to address some of the problems that we have, that we otherwise would not have had the funds for."

The mayor is planning to have the largest portion of the money to go toward housing. Fixing things like damaged roofs and poorly insulated windows.

"We have a housing crisis in Opelousas,” Mayor Cravins said. “We have old housing stock and a shortage of housing stock."

The mayor added that the city is planning on setting up a program where people in need can complete an application to be considered to receive money from the grant. He said there will be certain criteria that people will have to meet.

The money will be used for other things as well, such as road repairs, drainage improvements and to replace a 16 year old fire truck.

Opelousas Fire Chief, Lee Cahanin, said "This equipment is so desperately needed, and it's essential to our operation.”

The mayor is hoping to have the grant money in-hand and begin putting it to use next month. He’s planning to use 1.5 million as leverage for more grants, to reach a total of 5 to 7 million to put toward housing.

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