Task force approves $1.2B flood relief plan

Published 5:43 am Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Restore Louisiana Task Force unanimously approved three resolutions at its Jan. 20 meeting, which will direct $1.2 billion in federal flood relief to a variety of programs for homeowners, renters and businesses, among others.

The task force’s action allows Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Office of Community Development to put out for public comment an action plan the state will soon submit to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which oversees the appropriation. The action plan calls for spending:

  • $938 million for the Homeowner Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program.
  • $100 million for rental and homelessness prevention programs.
  • $62 million for economic development and agriculture assistance programs.
  • $105 million for FEMA public assistance non-federal share match from the state’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds.

The rebuilding assistance directed to homeowners is in addition to a previous $386 million allocation for homeowners — for a total of $1.3 billion. This latest funding would benefit all residents without flood insurance who experienced major or severe damage to their homes with at least some measure of relief.

Under the federal register notice, the state is required to spend $975.4 million of the latest appropriation in 10 parishes designated as “most impacted and distressed” — Tangipahoa, Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Livingston and Ouachita, along with four additional parishes that received the designation this month — Washington, St. Tammany, Acadia and Vermilion.

In addition, HUD requires that 70 percent of the allocation, or about $853 million, must benefit low-to moderate income households. The state will seek a waiver to the requirement, requesting the allocation be lowered to 50 percent.

Under the Office of Community Development’s timeline, notice of the action plan will be published in newspapers on Feb. 1, which will start the 14-day public comment period. OCD will respond to public comments Feb. 16-17 and submit the action plan to HUD by Feb. 17. Click here to view the Office of Community Development’s full presentation to the task force.

In the meantime, OCD’s Disaster Recovery Unit has issued a request for proposals for program management and construction management services for the homeowner assistance program. The RFP is available online here.

Edwards continues working with the state’s congressional delegation to secure at least $2 billion more in additional federal dollars that flood-impacted residents and communities need for sustainable recovery.

The Restore Louisiana Task Force comprises 21 individuals from throughout the state who were appointed by Edwards to oversee the rebuilding process after historic flooding in March and August 2016 impacted 51 parishes. The Task Force’s mission is divided into six categories: community planning, economic, health and social services, housing, infrastructure and natural and cultural resources. All task force documents are available at restore.la.gov/resources. For more information, visit restore.la.gov.