Jury rejects rent assistance support

The East Feliciana Parish Police Jury voted 4-3 Monday to reject a resolution supporting a nonprofit organization’s request for federal rent subsidies.

The vote came after several months of discussions on the request for support from George Turner, of Ethel, president of The People’s Workshop and jury-appointed director of a parish Housing Authority.

Jurors Dwight Hill, Chris Hall, Larry Beauchamp and Karl Chaney voted to deny the request, while Ed Brooks, Jason McCray and Louis Kent supported it. Keith Mills abstained, and jury President Dennis Aucoin only votes to break ties.

A large group of Ethel residents opposed the request, saying they fear Turner plans to build some type of housing development — either apartments or a cluster of homes — that would overwhelm the infrastructure of the area.

Turner, who did not outline any specific plans for the area where he lives, said the resolution only would open the door for families to obtain so-called Section 8 rent subsidies to move into decent, affordable housing.

Kent said the jury should do what it can to help the poor and people with disabilities find “a decent place to stay.”

“It’s nothing new,” Kent said.

Turner also said the federal program, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, also offers qualified buyers assistance in buying homes.

Turner and his organization also have a request for support pending before the West Feliciana Parish Police Jury.