State receives final approval on initial flood relief application
Published 8:16 am Monday, February 20, 2017
Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Office of Community Development has received final approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Louisiana’s action plan for distributing an initial congressional appropriation of $438 million for residents impacted by last year’s historic flooding.
The application process for qualifying families is expected to open in late March for construction assistance. State officials estimate that residents with approved applications could begin receiving construction assistance as soon as April.
Application information will be posted on the restore.la.gov website immediately once it becomes available. Residents are encouraged to sign up for email updates through the website to stay up to date on the latest developments.
The state also is in the process of selecting and hiring a qualified private organization to manage the construction program. Companies have until Feb. 22 to respond to the state’s request for proposal, and a final selection will be announced in early March.
“This initial round of assistance is clearly not enough to meet all the state’s needs after last year’s devastation, but is represents a milestone in the recovery process,” said Pat Forbes, executive director of the Office of Community Development. “We are grateful to HUD for such a quick review of the action plan and for their continued assistance. The approval of the state’s action plan is the result of hard work from many people at all levels of government, as well as our great working relationship with HUD.”
Edwards’ administration secured the initial congressional appropriation six weeks after the August flood. Meanwhile, the state is in the final stages of an action plan for another $1.2 billion appropriation approved in December. After a public comment period that closed Feb. 15, the plan will be submitted by Feb. 24 to HUD for approval. State officials have projected that assistance from the second allocation could begin reaching residents by later this spring.
In addition, the administration continues to seek more federal aid. Earlier this month, Edwards traveled to Washington, D.C., for the sixth time since the floods to meet with members of the state’s congressional delegation on the issue. The state estimates it needs at least $2 billion more for a sustainable recovery after record flooding in March and August 2016.
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.