To reallocate disaster recovery funding, create new programs for the Great Floods of 2016

The Louisiana Office of Community Development is accepting public comments on Action Plan Amendment 11, which adjusts existing program budgets and beneficiaries, and creates new programs for outstanding unmet recovery needs by reallocating $172,867,013 in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funding received from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for recovery from The Great Floods of 2016.

Action Plan Amendment 11 will:

---Modify the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program and current rental and homelessness prevention programs;

---Establish a flood insurance premium program and interim housing assistance program for certain eligible applicants who are also actively working through the RLHP and whose household incomes are at or below 120 percent AMI;

---Expand Solution 4 High Risk Communities to include rental property owners and vacant lot owners in order to achieve a comprehensive community buyout, as well as provide interim housing assistance for eligible Solution 4 homeowners in the event their homes are uninhabitable as they complete the buyout process;

---Establish new rental and homeownership assistance programs;

---Create a new Safe Haven Program to further reduce homelessness in the parishes with the most unmet need related to rates of people experiencing homelessness and mental illness;

---Reduce the budget for the Small Business Loan and Grant and Technical Assistance Programs and increase the budget for the Farm Recovery Grant Program;

---Increase the budget for Watershed Planning and introduce a Regional Capacity Building Grant for local and regional efforts around watershed-based planning and organization that are necessary for more resilient recovery from the Great Floods of 2016.

The funds are part of $1.708 billion in Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery dollars HUD allocated to Louisiana for recovery from the Great Floods of 2016. HUD considers APA 11 a substantial amendment, as it involves the movement of more than $5 million, creates new programs and changes program beneficiaries.

The formal public comment period for Action Plan Amendment 11 began Wednesday, Feb. 27 and ends at 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Residents, community leaders and elected officials can view the plan by visiting http://www.doa.la.gov/Pages/ocd-dru/Action_Plans.aspx and clicking on the respective APA link.

Contributed by the La. Office if Community Development Disaster Recovery Unit