2020 to 2022 Disaster Recovery Efforts are slow. Homeowners in Louisiana are asking, where is the money?
Parish elected officials are once again showing signs of being clueless regarding federal grant programs designed to assist homeowners after a federally declared disaster resulting in major to severe damage.
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By Murray Wennerlund published 12-11-2022 updated 12-12-2022
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Understand the type and amount of assistance from the federal government you’re going to see as a homeowner.

Temporary shelter including but not limited to

  • Transition / temporary hotel assistance up to 90 days
  • Interim rental assistance fair market value rents for up to 20 months
  • Interim mortgage assistance of up to $3,000 for 20 months or $60,000 total
  • FEMA lodging MHU, Trailers, up to 18 months with extensions to 32 months.

Housing Repair / MHU Replacement / New Construction / Buyout / Elevation

  • FEMA maximum $37,900 (governors office can negotiate a second program of the same amount)
  • Manufactured Home Replacement up to $120,000
  • Home repair (less than 50% damaged) or new construction and elevation up to $425,000 homeowners design choice can inject own money with grant award
  • Home built by your state HUD representative no design choice up to $157/sq costs
  • Buyout repetitive flood loss program up to $250,000

Louisiana Restore public outreach people will talk about the total federal taxpayer grants awarded to the state but will not break down to the homeowners what actual grant funding is proposed by the state of Louisiana Office of Community Development - Disaster Recovery Unit OCD-DRU.

The OCD-DRU received data from FEMA that totaled the amount of federal grants awarded by FEMA Individual Assistance (AI) and Public Assistance. Then the state used this amount to calculate the total FEMA provided.  These numbers would have been the first numbers you heard in the media. The numbers are actual is 2/3 for state and municipalities and 1/3 for everything else to include the citizens and related projects that the OCD-DRU claims to assist it’s citizen population.

FEMA IA declared parishes are used by HUD to calculate unmet needs and qualify homeowners in the most impacted and distressed areas. (Totals for FEMA determined major to severe damaged homes in MID):
Acadia (126), Allen (186), Ascension (705), Assumption (265), Beauregard (411), Caddo (84), Calcasieu (3,791), Cameron (542), Grant (105), East Baton Rouge (872), East Feliciana (22), Iberia (123), Iberville (170), Jackson (19), Jefferson Davis (227), Lafourche (2,253), La Salle (2), Lafayette (72), Lincoln (29), Livingston (1,101), Orleans (3,035), Plaquemines (467), Pointe Coupee (24), St. Bernard (433), St. Charles (1,655), St. Helena (277), St. James (873), St. John the Baptist (2,793), St. Martin (72), St. Mary (199), St. Tammany (1,448), Tangipahoa (2,379), Terrebonne (1,493), Morehouse (30), Natchitoches (52), Ouachita (80), Rapides (319), Sabine (21), St. Landry (92), St. Martin (72) Union (31), Vermilion (124), Vernon (141), Washington (333), West Baton Rouge (43), West Feliciana (16) and Winn (35).

Real Numbers for Homeowners in the most impacted and distressed areas of Louisiana for the years 2020 to 2022 are as follows:
(Covers Grant number: P-21-LA-22-LDZ1, B-21-DF-22-0001, B-21-DZ-22-0001)

  • Total Proposed Housing Rehab, Buyout, New Construction, Other, Budget: $867,873,287.00
  • HUD Identified MID unmet housing needs budget: $694,298,629.60
  • Louisiana OCD-DRU identified homeowners housing needs: $173,574,657.40

The state of Louisiana estimates that $867,873,287.00 will be enough to cover 32,879 major/severe damaged homeowners property reported in the Most Impacted and Distressed (MID) areas and the additional areas the state OCD-DRU added in Action Plan Amendment 1. 

The actual numbers of households that are going to be offered assistance depends more on what the state Governor requests. In the 2016 floods the governor asked that total assistance be limited to 15,000 grant recipients and/or under $550 million estimated in grants distributed to homeowners. 

The current numbers for the 2016 floods are as follows. 
Submitted applications: 37,182
Approved Grants: 17,219
Allocated funds: $668,444,249.28

Using the same formula because after all we have the same governor and same management at the OCD-DRU we can safely say with the increases noted in the new program that the state will be assisting roughly: 

2020-2022 estimated households: 
Submitted applications: 32,879
Approved Grants: 16,988
Allocated funds: $448,425,440.96

It's difficult to predict the future. 
It's impossible to work numbers without all variables. 
But it is possible to show a trend to follow.

The percentage of allocations distributed to homeowners is forecasted to be 51.67% for disasters in 2020-2021.
This will be cost taxpayers roughly $0.49 for every $1.00 for the state of Louisiana to manage disaster recovery over the next 6 years. 

Note 1: Action Plan Amendment 1 published 9-20-2022 "Unmet Needs Assessment revised to include HUD- and state-identified MID areas for Hurricane Ida and the May 2021 Severe Storms and to include new demographic information for impacted areas homeowner data updated to include Hurricane Ida and the May 2021 Severe Storms."

 

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