BATON ROUGE – Homeowners affected by the August 2016 flood would receive 100 percent reimbursement grant awards if the Restore Louisiana Task Force approves a request by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Task Force members will discuss and vote on the proposed increase during their meeting Friday, July 13.
The program would result in an additional $110 million in reimbursement grant funds being made available to more than 10,000 eligible homeowners, Gov. Edwards said.
“It has always been our goal to provide as much assistance as possible to homeowners who are stretching their hard-earned paychecks and are tapping into their savings to recover from the devastating floods of March and August 2016,” he said. “Increasing the reimbursement amount will help ease the burdens of thousands.”
Louisiana Congressman Garret Graves, who has been critical of the state’s handling of the award process, commended Gov. Edwards for the 100 percent reimbursement plan.
“We strongly support the governor’s action today to increase federal funding to flood victims and will continue to work with HUD, the state and the Restore Program to speed the distribution of recovery funding to impacted homeowners so that they can get back in their homes and return to some degree of normalcy,” he said. “Importantly, the increase in payments will not jeopardize federal funding available in the Restore program to compensate Duplication of Benefits victims once the U.S. Senate acts on our legislation.”
The request comes as the July 20 deadline looms for homeowners to complete survey applications.
“We now have a more comprehensive understanding of the needs of flood-affected homeowners across the state,” Gov. Edwards said. “I know members of the task force are committed to helping homeowners rebuild and understand how this expansion will provide much needed additional assistance.”
The Office of Community Development initially structured the reimbursement portion of the program to meet requirements by the U.S. Department Housing of Urban Development (HUD) that mandated the limited amount of funding made available for the Restore program be prioritized to assist homeowners with the greatest unmet needs.
Originally, Phases 1-2- which included low-to-moderate income (LMI) households with either a homeowner age 62 or older or a household member with a disability – allowed for 100 percent of their repair award and 100 percent of their reimbursement award.
Homeowners in Phases 3-6 could receive between 50-100 percent of their repair award and 25 percent of their reimbursement award.
During the Restore Louisiana Task Force meeting on August 18, 2017, members approved a similar request by Gov. Edwards to increase the tiered award structure for all homeowners in Phases 3-6 to 100 percent of the repair award and 50 percent of their reimbursement award.
If the Task Force recommends this latest expansion request, it must then be submitted to HUD for final approval.
Upon HUD’s approval, the program will immediately begin working to update grant calculations and contact all eligible applicants, including those homeowners who have alrea
Gov. Edwards to ask Restore Louisiana for approval full reimbursement grant awards for flood-affected homeowners
To date, over 52,000 homeowners have completed the program survey and 37,000 homeowners have submitted formal applications.
More than 33,000 applications have been processed and grant determinations made, and 12,750 eligible homeowners have been offered grant awards totaling more than $342 million.