After Ida Damages Louisiana Homes, HUD To Offer Assistance For 25 Parishes
Residents in parishes hit the hardest by the Category 4 Hurricane Ida could see federal relief for housing payments and repairs, officials announced Friday during a visit with U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge.
Following a post-Ida tour of Kenner and New Orleans, Fudge pledged the federal government’s commitment to rebuild communities in an equitable way that ensures vulnerable citizens are not left behind during the press conference held at New Orleans East Hospital with Gov. John Bel Edwards, Mayor LaToya Cantrell, U.S. Rep. Troy Carter and the hospital’s CEO Takeisha Davis.
“We have to look at what we have not done for communities of color [and] for low-income communities,” Fudge said.
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HUD’s disaster assistance is available to 25 parishes, including Orleans and Jefferson.
The assistance program offers a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures, mortgage insurance assistance to help homeowners borrow money to cover repair costs. It also includes waivers that grant governments that are rebuilding public housing facilities flexibility and allows city governments to use federal funds to provide emergency shelters and food.
“We have ensured throughout this process that not one person that lives in a HUD property or has a section 8 voucher can be evicted from their home,” Fudge added, “It’s not only time to keep you safe. It’s time to let you grow.”
The HUD secretary said the agency is looking to provide down payments for first-time home buyers and to remove roadblocks that have kept homeownership for Black and Brown people out of reach.
“I grew up fairly poor, but we had a house,” she said. “I do this job because I want every single person in America to have that experience — to know there’s a safe place where they can go.”
At the press conference, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Louisiana has “tremendous unmet housing needs.”
Edwards said officials from FEMA expected to receive 600,000 claims for disaster relief assistance but have already gotten more than 650,000 applications. Officials expect to process more than 800,000.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which assists local governments and FEMA in providing tarps for homes damaged by natural disasters through its Operation Blue Roof program, has also reported a high demand for tarps — roughly 53,000 requests compared to around 13,000 after Hurricane Laura hit southwest Louisiana in 2020. As Tropical Depression Nicholas brought rainfall to the Louisiana coast in areas affected by Hurricane Ida, it slowed down the program’s efforts even more.
New Orleans East Hospital, where the press conference was held, was built using a $97,604,300 Federal Housing Authority mortgage loan after the Methodist Hospital in the East was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Officials at the press conference praised the rebuilding effort, noting that the new hospital has brought critical healthcare back to New Orleans East and was able to withstand Hurricane Ida’s winds and maintain power — an example of building back better.
Edwards noted that hospitals in Terrebonne and St. Charles parishes were destroyed and will need to be rebuilt.
“We’re not gonna just build back to the standard that we have,” Edwards said, adding that the healthcare infrastructure in Louisiana had been taxed in the last year and a half with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and two catastrophic storms within a year to hit the state’s coast.
Residents can view details about HUD assistance here.
This article has been updated. A previous version of this article said that the program offered "a moratorium on evictions for people living in HUD properties and for those with section 8 vouchers." The updated version includes a quote from HUD secretary fudge saying that the agency has ensured that people living in HUD properties and with section 8 vouchers will not be evicted.
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