Gov. Edwards' Administration Sends Final Plan for $438 Million Appropriation

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Gov. John Bel Edwards said the Office of Community Development submitted its final plan for an initial $438 million flood-relief appropriation on Jan. 6 to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – more than a month ahead of the federal deadline. Edwards said the state could be cleared to begin spending the money as soon as March.

Meanwhile, the Office of Community Development is working on an action plan for an additional $1.2 billion flood-relief appropriation that Congress approved in December. The Restore Louisiana Task Force had been scheduled to vote on an overall budget structure for that plan at its Jan. 6 meeting. However, the meeting was cancelled due to severe weather.

The cancellation will not result in any delays in the recovery process. The task force will review the proposed final plan for the $1.2 billion at its next meeting, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 20 at the Livingston Parish Governmental Building at 20355 Government Blvd. in Livingston.

The Governor’s Office of Community Development would direct most of the $1.2 billion toward homeowners, renters and small business owners, $935.4 million for homeowners, $80 million for renters and $50 million for business owners.

The action plan would also set aside $105 million in matching funds for public assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This would help local governments meet their cost-share match needed for public infrastructure improvements - 25 percent for the March flood and 10 percent for the August flood.

“We’ll write the plan for spending the $1.2 billion so we can expand the homeowner assistance program and offer at least some measure of help to everyone who had major or severe damage and did not have flood insurance,” Edwards said. “This is a critical step as we strive to help as many flood-impacted homeowners, businesses and communities with unmet needs as we possibly can.”

Details on all flood-related programs are available on the task force website, restore.la.gov.