Outreach scheduled for flood-impacted homeowners

Greg Fischer Editor-in-chief
St. Amant High School to host flood rehabilitation program Thursday.

Due to over-crowding at the Baton Rouge housing assistance center, on June 29, from 3-7 p.m. in Ascension Parish a community outreach has been set.

Program representatives from Restore Louisiana will be at the St. Amant High School Cafetorium, 12035 La. 431, St. Amant, LA, to answer questions, provide information and work directly with homeowners on a first-come, first-served basis to complete the program survey.

Moreover, FEMA sent a press release out last week which outlines the way funds are distributed after a natural disaster occurs.

This is what people should know:

'FEMA and Public Assistance Funding Process'

The Public Assistance Program provides grants assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures and permanent restoration of infrastructure such as roads, bridges and public buildings after the Presidential disaster declaration of Aug. 14, 2016.

Eligible applicants for public assistance (PA) include State, local and federally recognized tribal governments and any other political subdivision of the State affected by the disaster.

As soon as practicable after the declaration, the State, assisted by FEMA, conducts applicant briefings to inform them of available assistance and how to apply.

Requests for assistance must be filed by the applicant within 30 days after the area is designated eligible for assistance.

A combined federal/state/local/tribal team inspects and documents the eligible facility, the eligible work and the eligible costs for repairing damages. The team then prepares a Project Worksheet based on the actual costs or on the estimated costs for each project.

When FEMA approves funds for a project, it obligates funding for the project directly to the State, i.e., funds are transferred to the State account.

The State is responsible for administering the funds to insure eligibility of the project. Following the State's review process and upon receipt of appropriate documentation, they will provide funds to the applicant on a reimbursable basis.

FEMA typically reimburses 75 percent of eligible PA expenses. But, because of the magnitude of this disaster, the agency will reimburse 90 percent of eligible expenses. FEMA pays the federal portion to the State which then disburses the funds to the applicants.

If anyone has not yet done so, the State has created a survey at http://restore.la.gov/. Everyone affected by the flooding of last year has been urged to register.

However, questions may be answered this Thursday at St. Amant High School.