Disaster Assistance, how to begin.
Recovering after declared disaster takes time and knowledge of federal policy and process.

Building an elevated home with attic storage in a flood zone and a 130mph wind zone.

by Murray Wennerlund published 4-16-2022 updated 4-19-2022
Flood, Hurricane and high wind mitigation practices make building a classic Acadian style home very difficult. The gables will be the major wind load and don't tie the rafters so low you lose the height you need for storage.

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Monitoring state level disaster recovery programs

by Murray Wennerlund published 1-15-2022
Citizens are being fleeced each and every disaster of tax dollars allocated to assist in their recovery after a declared disaster. States that go unchecked little or no program oversight cost us millions.

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DRRA Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 , 2019 , 2020, 2021 to 2022 Homeowners Perspective

by Murray Wennerlund published 1-15-2022 updated 2-14-2022
Each year new disasters offer the opportunity for politicians to create new bills that do little more than pump tax dollars into the same dysfunctional programs we have had since 1954.

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SBA Disaster Loan Program the Duplication of Benefits story you heard when it was too late.

by Murray Wennerlund published 1-15-2022 updated 2-14-2022
Once you sign your SBA loan agreement for your disaster loan you also signed away any Grant money that you may have been eligible for at a later date. The key is never take a loan when you qualify for a grant but the grants come after the loans.

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Mortgage Relief Program for Homeowners Impacted by COVID-19

by Murray Wennerlund published 1-13-2022 updated 1-14-2022
Homeowner Mortgage Assistance, a U.S. Taxpayer funded program designed to assist individuals and families impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic that are at risk of mortgage loan default and have a federally secured mortgage.

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FEMA Trailer and MHU program ends 18 months after a disaster declaration date.

by Murray Wennerlund published 1-10-2022 updated 4-17-2022
Your states governor will need to submit to FEMA an extension for the temporary shelters. The extension will come at a price which your governor may pay for out of state funds or charge the occupants based on income or a flat monthly fee typically 50.00.

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Fact checking your federal and local agencies

by Murray Wennerlund published 1-2-2022 updated 1-4-2022
Fact checking your mix of state and federal agencies on one topic or policy could be more workflow points than you expected.

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Louisiana State Representative Edward Ted James II SBA Regional Administrator District 6 South Central

by Murray Wennerlund published 1-2-2022 updated 2-14-2022
First SBA announcement for the new year that may bring a shakeup to the disaster lending program. Or will Mr. James simply abandon the idea of creating a lending program designed to assist disaster recovery efforts and keep things as they are?

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Low Income Small Business owners with real property and unmet needs can use HUD Economic Revitalization grants

by Murray Wennerlund published 12-20-2021 updated 12-22-2021
Small Businesses that own real property, are low income, filed a disaster claim with FEMA, filed an application with SBA that was denied could be eligible for HUD CDBG-DR grants managed by your state agency for Unmet Economic Revitalization Needs.

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HUD CDBG-DR Grants funded by Public Law 117-43 from the 117 Congress

by Murray Wennerlund published 10-31-2021 updated 11-6-2021
Federal Taxpayer funded disaster recovery grant funds have been allocated to major and severe disasters declared in 2020 and 2021. H.R.5305 - Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act is allocating

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Our Federal Government Policy for disaster assistance labeled "Sequence of Delivery" for Disaster Relief and Assistance follows two standards that will seriously harm more than 35% of all disaster survivors in any state, county or parish in the United States of America. If you are below average income levels for your community you are in a group that can not afford to take on additional debt. The debt the federal government is going to ask you to take is equal to the total of your disaster recovery costs. Congress pushed to have all disaster survivors take SBA Disaster Loans after applying for FEMA temporary disaster relief. The Small Business Administration Disaster Recovery Loans will grant loans to income groups labeled Low Income by using real property as collateral. The SBA and FEMA will not tell you about other federal disaster assistance that is available to you that is not listed in their sequence of delivery. In fact, your state governors disaster response team will not mention anything outside of the same FEMA sequence of delivery for disaster relief. 

This year it's more important to understand what is available to you and to limit the amount of household debt you place on your working members of your family. In Louisiana we have a serious issue with programs being setup to be reimbursements instead of grants. Grants are given for a specific purpose and you apply those funds as instructed by the grantee. In the state of Louisiana the Governors office to the director of the grant programs feels homeowners would rather purchase a new truck than to repair their home damaged in the disaster. This was stated publicly April 13, 2018 by the director of the OCD-DRU who is responsible for over $1 billion in disaster aid yearly. 

Issues with reimbursement programs are numerous for low to moderate income (LMI) households. Many LMI households mistakenly use FEMA disaster relief funds incorrectly and end up counting against them. A LMI family that received $30,000 to make temporary repairs to their home would have that $30,000 in temporary repairs deducted from any additional relief funds that are provided by the federal government. Many people used a part of their temporary repair funds to purchase vehicles after the flood to be able to return to work. Others spent the FEMA assistance on appliances, flooring, and other items that did not fall into the approved items list of other programs. When you are found to have been given duplicative grants or assistance you have to return the funds before you can receive additional funds. Some programs will allow you to show the work completed with the funds and credit you toward additional grants. 

If you received $30,000 from FEMA then were offered $65,000 from another grant program the $30,000 from FEMA would be considered a duplication of benefits from federal disaster assistance programs.  Your $65,000 grant would be reduced by the amount of the FEMA grant. Most states follow their own policies which they create after each disaster. They are not held responsible to assist anyone with the federal funds distributed to the states. In fact, if the state finds you ineligible for any reason from not cooperating with state workers to moving too slow with your recovery efforts they will terminate your funding before it's issue. 

The Number One Rule for LMI households is to refuse the SBA loan offered and to wait out the federal governments push to have you adsorb all debts related to the disaster. Calculations show that after each disaster the LMI household looses 33% of their total net worth if you follow the federal sequence of delivery. This means after your 3rd disaster your household is unable to recover from future disasters and your debt is more than your total assets leaving your net worth at zero or less than zero. This is when homes start their decay phase and does not stop until the property is sold and the family reduces their disaster debt.  

We have been working with hundreds of disaster victims and providing oversight of state programs. We are also disaster survivors rebuilding after the 2016 floods in Louisiana. It's not easy, we know more reasons to take the easy way out and just give up and accept the total disaster debt on your shoulders. Your state would appreciate you dropping out of the program because they will transfer the federal grant funds allocated to you to a state managed program that will not assist homeowners with their disaster debt. The state of Louisiana averages 35% of households are labeled as dropouts or as they state, "Voluntary withdrawal from the Grant Program." 

Voluntary withdrawal includes: 

  • State rescinds (terminates) your grant for their own reasons and will not tell you about your right to appeal.
  • State rescinds your grant because you argue with your state hired call center worker claiming if you do not corporate with temporary call center workers those workers can request your grant be terminated.

You get the picture, you will voluntarily withdraw from the program if you do not follow program policy as it is created. Policy does not have to be made public and can be back dated. Your Voluntary actions may not seem so voluntary when you are not told you can appeal the states effort to remove you from grant programs. Thousands of homeowners have been terminated for policy reasons that didn't need to be terminated. It's of no fault to the homeowner that their income limits their recovery time. It's grant programs that are designed to help the low to moderate income households but those same programs allow states to create policy that allows the state not to distribute grants to households so they can rebuild after the disaster. 

Read more within the pages of this site. Learn how to ask questions and learn what the federal programs are offering you for disaster recovery. 

 

 

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