Homebuyer assistance, small business help workshops planned Feb. 15

Published 12:06 am Saturday, January 28, 2017

LAPLACE — Workshops for homebuyer assistance and small business grants and loans highlight efforts next month in St. John the Baptist Parish funded through a $30 million-plus hurricane recovery grant.

St. John Parish received a $32 million Community Development Block Grant received in 2013 to help the Parish recover from Hurricane Isaac.

A Homebuyer Assistance Program Workshop targeting realtors starts at 8 a.m. Feb. 15 at the St. John Community Center in LaPlace.

A Small Business Grants and Loan Program targeting business owners and non-profit organizations starts at 6 p.m. Feb. 15 at the St. John Community Center in LaPlace.

Interested participants must register for the workshops by Feb. 10. For more information, call Myra Alexis-Valentine at 985-652-9569, extension 1143.

Alexis-Valentine, who serves as the grant administrator, said St. John recently used grant funds to host a successful contractor networking and workforce development event.

“We are excited about the possibility of the sub-contractors partnering with the Prime Contractors to assist with the CDBG home repairs,” Alexis-Valentine said. “Adding sub-contractors will increase the contractor’s pool and also increase the number of homes that will be repaired in a timely manner. All which is essential for a successful program.”

Parish officials said more than 50 individuals attended the Jan. 20 event, including contractors who were able to identify potential subcontractors that can help complete government contracts and receive information on upcoming opportunities in St. John.

Vendors including Trufund Financial Services, Liftfund New Orleans and Demetria Carter C.P.A. Firm were onsite.

Funding is being allocated through housing programs (Rehabilitation, Elevation, Homebuyer Assistance, Small Rental, and Demolition & Clearance) to facilitate unmet needs from the storm.