Restore Louisiana announces deadline for completing program application

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

The Office of Community Development (OCD) announced that the deadline to complete the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program application is Monday, October 1, 2018. This deadline applies to just under 4,100 homeowners who took the initial survey and have been invited to complete an application but have not yet done so.

Homeowners can complete the application by visiting or calling 1-866-735-2001 to speak with a program representative from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Additionally, homeowners may visit one of the program’s four Housing Assistance Centers in Lafayette, Hammond, Monroe or Baton Rouge, all of which are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“I invite all homeowners with an application available to submit it as soon as possible,” said Pat Forbes, Executive Director of the Office of Community Development. “I understand that the SBA duplication of benefits (DOB) issue has been the single most frustrating impediment to recovery for homeowners who were unable to receive federal grants to repair their homes. We hope relief will come soon from the federal government on the duplication of benefits issue. However, if Congress rules favorably, we can assist only those who have submitted their application by the October 1 deadline.”

The program continues to closely track all legislation related to a potential change in how SBA loans are considered a DOB and awaits further clarification and guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to understand how new language passed in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 in February, or more recent legislation, may affect the program. Furthermore, the program recently expanded the grant reimbursement structure from 50 percent to 100 percent for all eligible homeowners, resulting in $110 million in additional reimbursement grant funds being available to more than 10,000 eligible homeowners.

More than 53,700 homeowners completed the program survey and nearly 43,600 homeowners qualify for assistance based on their survey. To date, over 35,600 applications have been processed and determinations made, and more than 13,560 eligible homeowners have been offered grant awards totaling nearly $450 million.

Contributed by the Restore Louisiana Task Force