The Restore Louisiana Task Force unanimously passed a resolution on Nov. 18 recommending to Gov. John Bel Edwards details to include in the state’s plan for spending an initial $438 million federal appropriation on homeowners affected by historic flooding in March and August. The resolution recommends, among other things, criteria for distributing the money and how the assistance program would be structured.
Approved by Congress in September, the appropriation is being administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Federal rules require Louisiana to provide detailed plans for distributing the money before receiving the appropriation.
While the appropriation is a fraction of what the state estimates is needed for flood recovery, Gov. Edwards has been to Washington, D.C. four times to meet with Congress on an additional $3.3 billion in requested assistance.
The Task Force resolution recommends Gov. Edwards instruct the state Office of Community Development to develop the homeowner assistance program using $405.8 million of the appropriation to assist approximately 4,200 homeowners in the parishes impacted by the March and August flooding.
Given the limited amount of the initial federal appropriation, the Task Force resolution recommends distributing the money to help those flooded homeowners who are most in need:
- Low-to-moderate income level
- Suffered major to severe damage to their homes
- Live outside the 100-year floodplain
- Did not have flood insurance
- Those who are elderly (62 years old or older on the dates of the floods) or live with a disability
The resolution also recommends offering three types of help for qualified homeowners ‒ state-managed construction for homeowners who don’t want to manage their own rebuilding, homeowner-managed construction for those who do want to hire their own contractors, or reimbursement for those who completed repairs on their own and can document their expenses.
“While we realize this amount is inadequate to serve everyone who is hurting, we are designing a program to help everybody as additional federal funds come in,” said Pat Forbes, executive director of the State Office of Community Development.
In addition, members of Gov. Edwards’ staff told Task Force members that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development could issue its requirements for spending the appropriation as soon as next week. Those requirements are a crucial step in the process of distributing the appropriation.
Click here to review the Resolution.
Last modified: December 1, 2016