Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Office of Community Development reports a significant increase in the number of awards made to flood-impacted homeowners who have applied for assistance through the Restore Louisiana program.
OCD representatives told members of the Restore Louisiana Task Force at their meeting on Friday, Oct. 27 in Covington that a total of more than 2,200 homeowners have received grant award notices. That figure represents a nearly 400 percent increase from September. The grant awards total $67.5 million.
OCD Executive Director Pat Forbes says the increase reflects the program’s progress in ramping up its processes and getting applications through those processes.
“We recognize that, for those homeowners who aren’t back in their homes yet, these numbers don’t come as much comfort,” Forbes said. “But we are starting to see the momentum we’ve been looking for in the speed and volume for providing homeowner assistance, and we’re are doing everything possible to continue to increase the flow of that assistance.”
OCD also provided updates for several other key measures in the homeowner assistance program:
- More than 45,000 homeowners have completed and submitted an initial survey
- More than 37,800 qualify for one of the six program phases
- Over 36,800 environmental reviews have been completed
- Approximately 18,500 homeowners have been invited to complete the application, about 10,500 of whom have submitted
- More than 4,300 damage assessments have been performed
Meanwhile, the task force unanimously approved a resolution at the meeting to make funding changes in Restore Louisiana’s multifamily rental programs.
The resolution recommends to Gov. Edwards a redirection of $22.5 million in unallocated funds from the Multifamily Restoration Loan Program ‒ $4.8 million to the Neighborhood Landlord Program and $17.7 million into a new Piggyback Program that would combine community development block grant funding with low-income housing tax credits. Both the Piggyback and Neighborhood Landlord programs aim to provide more affordable housing units to low- and moderate-income families.
In addition, OCD will adjust the requirements for repaying loans through the Restore Louisiana Small Business Assistance Program. As long as qualified borrowers meet all other terms, 40 percent of the interest-free loans will be forgiven instead of the original 20 percent.
The small business program is also extending the application deadline, the exact date will be announced later.
Forbes says OCD agreed to lower the repayment requirements after numerous small business owners indicated they were interested in loans but could not afford the debt. As of mid-October, 72 loan applications had been submitted, while 177 more were being processed.
OCD and task force members reminded flood-impacted homeowners to complete the program survey, which is the first step in requesting help through Restore Louisiana, regardless of whether they believe they qualify.
The survey is available online at restore.la.gov, by telephone at (866) 735-2001 or by visiting one of the Restore Louisiana housing assistance centers in Lafayette, Hammond, Monroe and Baton Rouge.
Last modified: October 27, 2017