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

Homeowner Assistance Fund Program that applies to ALL States and US Territories.

by Murray Wennerlund published 8-9-2021
Mortgage Assistance will be managed by the same departments as the current Rental assistance. Expect the same results, slow disbursements and eligibility requirements that may not offer any financial assistance or funding coverage.

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Eligible Homeowners to receive financial assistance from state managed federally funded programs.

by Murray Wennerlund published 8-9-2021 updated 8-10-2021
Financial hardship means a material reduction in income or material increase in living expenses associated with any federally declared disaster and in this article we will use the coronavirus pandemic as our current federally declared disaster.

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HUD Area Median Income Tables

by Murray Wennerlund published 8-3-2021
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD Area Median Income Tables

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USGS WaterAlert Real-Time Hydrologic Notification system

by Murray Wennerlund published 5-17-2021
Monitor your watershed areas and get hydro alerts from the gauges up-stream from your home, family and structures. Use the information to keep safe during river flood

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HUD CDBG-DR Base Flood Elevation (BFE), two (2) feet above the Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE)

by Murray Wennerlund published 5-13-2021 updated 1-10-2022
When you work with your municipality and they say your elevation has to be Base Flood Elevation BFE they are quoting FEMA policy. FEMA offers a 25/75 cost share for elevation. Your municipality has to tell you BFE plus 2 feet to use other federal funds.

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Two unemployment programs that the state of Louisiana Workforce should launch.

by Murray Wennerlund published 5-11-2021
Short-Time Compensation and Partial Unemployment Insurance assistance. Federally funded American Rescue Act Plan of 2021 that could strength local economy while building back the labor force at a manageable and economically based pace.

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Promote a Safe and Healthy workplace environment

by Murray Wennerlund published 5-11-2021
If you build a safe, hostile free work environment you will find workers are more willing to return to work than to remain on Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation assistance. Too many studies show those willing to work will work.

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What you will find on your substantial damage letter generated by FEMA Substantial Damage Estimator software

by Murray Wennerlund published 5-2-2021
A detailed look at what you will find on your FEMA Substantial Damage Estimator SDE output. For more details about each section I recommend that you read the SDE 3.0 User Manual and Field Workbook published by FEMA for the SDE software.

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FEMA's Disaster Sequence of Events

by Murray Wennerlund published 4-27-2021
What we need to assist more disaster victims is this flowchart for Federal Assistance. FEMA to HUD / SBA Flowchart for a more balanced recovery process based on ability to take additional household debt.

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How to Appeal Substantial Damage assessments conducted by FEMA or your municipality.

by Murray Wennerlund published 4-24-2021 updated 5-3-2021
Substantial Damage determinations at times can cause additional disaster debt burden beyond what the homeowner can financially manage. When we need to contest or appeal the substantial damage report we need to follow federal and your municipality policy.

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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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