Low Interest Loans May Help Senior Citizens, Low Income Rebuild

D'IBERVILLE (WLOX) -- There is help on the way for some Katrina victims who just don't have enough money to get back into their homes. Tuesday, a non-profit group called "Local Initiatives Support Corporation" or LISC launched its Renewal Fund. It's a low interest loan program for seniors and low income people having trouble meeting all the expenses of rebuilding.

Brenda Lepoma can show off her new house in D'Iberville, but what she and her husband Michael can't do yet is move in.

"The only thing that we need is the insulation in the walls and the flooring and the ceiling," said Brenda Lepoma. "Everything else is done."

A new initiative called the Renewal Fund partnership seeks to bridge the gap between what people have and what they need to be able to get back in their homes. LISC came up with the low interest loan program for senior citizens and low income people who find that insurance and grant money isn't enough.

"They find that the cost of their house far exceeds their ability to pay for it based on their income so this is a way you can help to reduce the amount of burden so that people can actually afford to rebuild," said LISC vice president Evelyn Brown. "Otherwise I don't think very many people can afford to rebuild."

The Lepoma house is one of 38 new houses built or under construction by the D'Iberville Volunteer Foundation. Another 900 have been rehabbed. The Foundation says the loans can help with rebuilding needs that go beyond the brick and mortar

Irene McIntosh is the director of the D'Iberville Volunteer Foundation.

"What I think it will do is close the gap so that they are complete rather than trying to scramble to find furnishings, appliances, the things that make home finally home. "

A surprised and tearful Brenda Lepoma learned that she and her husband will be among those getting this help.

"Unbelievable," said Lepoma. "Unbelievable. They've been so wonderful. All of them."

LISC officials say they created the low interest loan program using more than half a million dollars from the U.S. Treasury Department. The interest rates on the loans range from zero to 3 percent. If your experiencing road blocks in trying to gain long term housing you can contact Mercy Housing at (228) 896-1945 to find out if you qualify.