Gov. John Bel Edwards visited a housing assistance center in Baton Rouge on May 31, as the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program started processing Phase 1 applications from families impacted by last year’s historic floods. In addition to the Baton Rouge location, other homeowner assistance centers have either opened or will soon open around the state to help homeowners complete the initial survey in order to participate in the program.
The survey is a key part of the homeowner assistance program and is available online at restore.la.gov or by calling (866) 735-2001. It provides the state with critical flood-related data and helps organize qualified homeowners into six priority phases. The phased approach helps ensure the state’s federally funded, $1.3 billion flood-assistance program operates as efficiently as possible. The survey is also a required step before completing an application for assistance.
The latest achievements in the homeowner assistance program include a number of important developments.
To date, more than 6,000 environmental reviews have been completed, clearing the way for Phase 1 homeowners to begin the application process.
In addition, environmental reviews will be completed by July for all qualified homeowners who have taken the survey so far. The program will begin inviting those homeowners to participate in the application process based on their phase. Over the next 30 days, status updates will go out to these homeowners. More information about program phases and tiers is available here.
“The unprecedented progress with environmental reviews made to date will allow us to expedite our recovery efforts,” says Jon Mabry, head of the flood-recovery effort for program manager IEM. “From our post-disaster experience in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina and in New York after Superstorm Sandy, our team knows that this expedited approach will help families get back into their homes as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, two homeowner assistance centers have opened with two more opening in the coming weeks:
- Baton Rouge ‒ Open now at Celtic Studios, Oak Tree Building, 10000 Celtic Drive
- Monroe ‒ Open now at 24 Accent Drive, Suite 116
- Lafayette ‒ To be determined
- Hammond ‒ To be determined
The centers will be open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday to help homeowners respond to surveys or fill out program applications. They also help homeowners connect with a case manager and offer a view of their options for repairs, reconstruction or reimbursement.
State officials are still urging all homeowners with homes damaged in the floods of March or August 2016 to complete the survey, regardless of whether they believe they will qualify for assistance.
The survey provides valuable information about the state’s ongoing recovery needs and helps the state demonstrate additional needs to Congress. It also ensures that homeowners are considered for assistance, either now or when additional funds may become available. So far, more than 25,000 flood-impacted homeowners have taken the survey.
Meanwhile, applications opened May 26 for the small business assistance program for interest-free, partially forgivable loans of up to $50,000 for qualified, flood-impacted local businesses. Applications will be accepted through June 30. The state has $43 million available for the loans, which will go out from mid-July through the end of the year.
In addition, the application stage for the Neighborhood Landlord Rental Program and the Multifamily Restoration Gap Program runs through mid-June. The Restore website also has more information on the Permanent Supportive Housing and Rapid Rehousing programs.
Last modified: May 31, 2017