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Shelter at Home Program gives Baton Rouge family hope

On a street still lined with pile of debris, three weeks after historic floods inundated the Park Forest subdivision in east Baton Rouge, one family sees light at the end of the tunnel.

A work crew showed up at the Lee home on White Sands Drive, bright and early Friday morning.

"God and good luck, that’s all I can say," Fred Lee said.

Fred Lee and his family were the first flood survivors chosen to participate in the state’s Shelter at Home program.

Under the program, homeowners can get up to $15,000 worth of basic repairs to make the home livable while the rest of the rebuilding is underway.

"I want to come home," Lee said. "My family wants to come home. And with the way they’re working, it won’t be long. They’re doing a great job."

Shelter at Home is the state’s preferred disaster assistance option over house trailers and other forms of temporary housing.

Billy Sullivan from SLS is one of three contractors hired to do the work in the Baton Rouge area.

"What the state is trying to do is get people out of shelters and out of hotels and out of apartments and friend’s homes and get them back into their homes," Sullivan said.

The program covers basic plumbing and electrical work, carpet and insulation removal and temporary bathroom and kitchen fixtures.

So far, 15,000 flood victims have applied to participate in the program.

"This is an opportunity to get them back into their community fabric, if you will and get back to life," Sullivan said. "When neighbors move back in, they help each other out and there’s been a tremendous amount of that spirit here in Baton Rouge."

The homeowner, Fred Lee said the Shelter at Home program gives him a jump start on what he knows will be a long and expensive process as he continues to recover from the August floods.

"Look at what we’re dealing with, $10,000 to $15,000 is not enough to deal with half of this," Lee said. "I got the other day an estimate from my contractor of $56,000."

Lee and his family are expected back in their home this weekend.