La. secures additional funding for ongoing flood recovery
BATON ROUGE, La.–Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and the state’s congressional delegation have secured an additional appropriation from Congress to fund the state's ongoing recovery from historic flooding in March and August 2016.
The latest allocation is part of a $400 million Community Development Block Grant measure included in the continuing resolution that will fund the federal government's operations through Oct. 1. The money will be divided among Louisiana, California, West Virginia and North Carolina.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will determine how the money is divided at a later date. Prior to today’s announcement, Louisiana has secured $1.6 billion in allocations.
“Louisiana’s recovery from the historic floods in March and August is far from complete, but we are well on our way. This additional funding helps us to reach more homeowners, many of whom lost everything, along with entire communities that are still recovering. While it does not fulfill our unmet needs completely, we are extremely grateful that Congress has stepped up to help the people of Louisiana,” Edwards said.
The governor also thanked the state’s congressional delegation for its critical role in securing the latest round of funding. He pledged to continue to work with the delegation and other leaders in Congress for more funding. The state’s unmet needs include $1 billion for homeowner assistance, $125 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete the Comite River Diversion project and $86 million in social services block grant funding.
“This additional allocation is very helpful,” said Pat Forbes, director of the governor’s Office of Community Development. “It should help even more flood survivors in the homeowner assistance and rental programs, and it will help with some select infrastructure needs.”
Meanwhile, the recovery efforts continue gaining momentum with more than 17,000 homeowners whose homes were damaged in the floods participating in the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program. The state opened the program in April and the survey is the first step in identifying those who qualify for state assistance in rebuilding and repairing their homes. Every homeowner who sustained flood damage is encouraged to take the survey at restore.la.gov or to call 1-866-735-2001 for assistance.
Also in April, Louisiana finalized a contract with global consulting firm IEM to manage the $1.3 billion homeowner assistance program, while the state began drawing down money from the earlier congressional appropriations to begin environmental reviews on select homes.
This month, the state will begin initial outreach with landlords and developers on plans for restoring the state’s supply of affordable housing for renters, who were also severely impacted by the flooding. Toward those efforts, the Restore Louisiana Neighborhood Landlord Rental Program will make $36 million available in loans for building and repairing rental homes and apartments.
Later this month, lenders taking part in the Restore Louisiana Small Business Program will begin accepting applications from flood-impacted local businesses. The $51.2 million program will make interest-free loans between $20,000 and $50,000 to eligible businesses. If borrowers meet all terms and repayment agreements, 20 percent of their loans will be forgiven.
For all of the latest updates and recovery resources, please go to restore.la.gov.