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Details on Use of Federal Flood Recovery Money Coming Today

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courtesy: Louisiana Wildlife Federation
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Recent partisan criticism of the time it’s taken for the governor’s office to get a flood recovery plan in place has been duly noted, and is being answered today.

“The federally required public comment period ended this past Tuesday, so we’re going to submit to HUD the $438-million plan for the first appropriation from Congress,” says  Assistant Chief-of-Staff Julie Baxter.

That happens this morning. This afternoon, the Restore Louisiana Task Force meets in Livingston Parish, with Governor John Bel Edwards announcing details of that plan.  In addition, according to Louisiana Office of Community Development director Pat Forbes, “We will get the Task Force to recommend a budget for the $1.2-billion.”

Forbes whose office will administer the federal flood recovery grants, gave the media some advance information about the plan on Thursday afternoon.

“By the federal regulations, we have to spend over 80% of these grants in the six most impacted and distressed parishes: Ascension, Lafayette, East Baton Rouge, Tangipahoa, Livingston and Ouachita.”

He says the first pot of money will be used almost exclusively to help rebuild an estimated 4000 homes.

“The appropriation for the $438-million requires 70% of the funds must be used to the benefit of persons of low to moderate income,” so those eligible in the first round will have to meet stringent income criteria, and fall within a group of categories.

“They have to not live in a special flood hazard area, not have flood insurance,” Forbes says. “They had to have major or severe damage, and – in addition to all those things -- they have to be elderly (that’s 62 or above), or have a person with disabilities living in the household.”

He says they expect to help more flood victims, with less restrictive criteria, in the second round of funding – while they work to secure another $2-billion from Congress.