Post-Flood Housing Help Not One Size Fits All

Aug 25, 2016

For those displaced by the flooding rains earlier this month, housing help won’t be FEMA trailers exclusively – or at all. Wednesday, Governor John Bel Edwards announced an array of options being offered in partnership with FEMA.

For those in post-flood shelters, staying in their cars, at work or in a hotel, there is temporary assistance to cover hotel rooms. There’s also help for displaced renters and others seeking an an apartment.

For property owners, the governor says there are several alternatives.

“The first interim housing program is manufactured housing units. However, these are not the same as FEMA trailers that have been used in the past.”

They’re more like mobile homes, he says – something not available after Hurricane Katrina since FEMA won’t place mobile homes in flood zones.

“In a great part of the area that’s involved in this flooding, they’re not in flood zones,” the governor explained.

There’s also the “Multi-Family Lease and Repair Program”, to help apartment landlords get their units available for rent more quickly.

“This program seeks to maximize the number of rental properties available by identifying buildings and quickly repairing them and offering them as temporary rental housing,” Gov. Edwards stated, adding that FEMA does the repairs, while the landlord agrees to rent to flood victims.

And there’s something new for Louisiana’s latest disaster. It’s called the “Shelter-At-Home” program.

“Each applicant’s home will be evaluated, and if eligible, FEMA will pay for basic initial work to make the home safe, secure and habitable.”

That includes removing flood-damaged wallboard and flooring; checking the electrical, piping and air conditioning systems; providing a mini-fridge and microwave – to let folks live at home while they renovate.

“That’s where our people want to be,” Edwards said. “They want their kids going back to their schools. They want to live in their neighborhoods, their communities, and they want to attend their church.”

The governor added “Shelter-At-Home” starts very soon.

“On Monday morning, we will release the website and phone number for this program.”

In the meantime, he said, those looking for someplace to rent can check a state-managed listing service: www.lahousingsearch.org .

To qualify for any of these programs, one must register for FEMA assistance. The governor says so far more than 119-thousand Louisiana households have done so.