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Report says La. workers need temporary housing

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LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — A new report on housing in southwest Louisiana says the Lake Charles area will need more accommodations as an estimated 16,000 temporary workers come to the area to build industrial projects over the next several years.

The American Press reported (http://bit.ly/1eOXZNb) the finding is included in the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance's regional housing plan.

Even with the planned construction of employee villages such as Pelican Lodge and Moss Lake Village, the region will still be about 10,000 units short of meeting its temporary housing demand, says David Conner, the alliance's vice president of economic development and international commerce.

Conner said more villages are needed.

Pelican Lodge is a $70 million housing facility under construction on Port of Lake Charles property that will house up to 4,000 temporary workers. Moss Lake Village is expected to house about 2,500 temporary workers once it is built in the Carlyss area.

Conner said building permanent housing is not the answer.

"During that time of construction when construction numbers rise, you satisfy a need," he said. "But when those numbers come down, you've created a 10- to 20-year skewing of the market with an overbuilding of permanent homes. So you end up with a lot of empty apartments, empty hotels and empty permanent structures that have no market."

Morgan Murray Turpin, the alliance's housing grant administrator, said the area's apartment stock is at about 95 percent occupancy. Without additional temporary housing for construction workers, she said, tenants now renting apartments could be face challenges when they want to move.

Conner said the report does not project how many employee villages should be built.

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Information from: American Press, http://www.americanpress.com

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