You may have answered questions incorrectly when you completed your Restore Louisiana Program Survey.
Louisiana homeowners that should have been invited to the Restore Louisiana Grant Program in 2022 during the first round may have disqualified themselves by answering the Restore Survey questions incorrectly, even if they read the Restore Survey Guide v3

By Murray Wennerlund published 1-15-2023 updated 1-30-2023
Make a contribution Print Eligibility LA Office of Community Development Disaster Recovery Unit (OCD-DRU) Hurricanes and tropical storms 1.0K views

I asked a few people that should have been allowed in the Restore Louisiana program in the first round what they answered on their surveys. When I reviewed the answers I found several eligibility questions that could have been used to delay or restrict the family from accessing the grant program.

If you completed the Louisiana Restore Program Survey and you were not invited to complete the grant application within 10 business days, you may have not understood some of the questions which were related to eligibility and if answered wrong.

First of all if you didn't read the Restore Survey Guide v3 PDF that explains in Restore Louisiana Language what they expect you may have started off wrong, even your address could be different from what the Restore Louisiana program has on file. 

Starting with the first item, your damaged residence address. This address will match exactly with how your FEMA letters are addressed. This is because the Restore Louisiana Grant Program collects a list of all homeowners that applied for FEMA assistance. If you didn't apply and you want to apply for the grant program you can register with FEMA and once you are assigned a disaster claim number you can register with the Restore Louisiana Grant Program.

FEMA will shorten your address. If you would normally write 123 South Main Street then FEMA would write 123 S Main St even omitting punctuation. You should try several different ways of entering your address before you place a checkmark in the box that says, "ONLY if the address of the damaged home is not found on the list, click the checkbox here and type the complete damaged residence address".

If you live in a manufactured home (Mobile Home) and you have a lot number enter the main number for the mobile home park and then skip your lot number because it will be read as if you are in an apartment and not allow you to list that you are a homeowner leasing a lot or land. 

If you are asking why you should read this article it's because you're going to need to file an appeal if you find your survey was incorrectly submitted or you omitted information that is required. Your survey is the first hurdle you have to jump to get invited to complete an application for the grant and still at that time you are not 100% guarantied you'll qualify for the program grants. 

I've completed the survey and I found several questions that may trip you up and place you in the "ineligible" box automatically.

eGrants Survey taken by Louisiana Homeowners as part of the states eligibility screening process to allow homeowners access to federal grants used to repair, reimburse and rebuild homes damaged by disasters in 2020 and 2021.

Questions from the survey will be answered and explained if needed. 

I'll be using the Restore Survey Program v3.0 guide and offering suggestions in BOLD.

  1. Damaged Residence Address.
    • In the STREET ADDRESS field below, begin typing the address of the damaged home. As you type, one or more addresses will be displayed. When the address of your damaged home appears, click on that address from the list. The CITY and ZIP CODE fields will auto fill. Check the information for accuracy. When address is filled in, select the PARISH and STRUCTURE TYPE of the damaged home. 
    • Note: If your address did not autofill, this indicates your address is not associated with a registered FEMA account for one of the 2020-2021 federally declared disasters which is a requirement of this program. In order to complete the program survey, an address must be selected.
    • If you didn't find your address you would be ineligible for the program. Only FEMA registered households are allowed in the program according to the state of Louisiana. Go to DisasterAssistance.Gov and register for your disaster.
    • If you did register with FEMA and do have a Disaster Assistance Number then enter your address as FEMA shows on your account and letters. Omit any Lot or Trailer Number # that appears below your street address on FEMA letters. The state will not list Mobile Home Park Lot Numbers in this drop down selection menu.
  2. Apartment / Unit number: 
    • This will be locked so you do not enter apartment numbers unless the address is associated with apartments. Renters do not qualify for homeowner grants.
  3. City (Required):
    • Start typing your city and it will appear in the dropdown selection box.
  4. Zip Code (Required): 
    • Enter just your 7 digit zip code. You don't need the 4 digit Zip Plus 4.
  5. Select Parish of damaged home (Required):
    • Start typing your parishes name and it will appear in the drop down. If not, your parish is not eligible.
  6. Select structure of damaged home (Required)
    • This is asking what type of home did you live in at the time of the disaster.
    • Single Family Home
    • Condominium / Townhome
    • Duplex
    • Mobile Home – Double Wide
    • Mobile Home - Single Wide 
  7. Owner Occupant
    • Are you an owner of this damaged home and did you occupy it as your permanent residence at the time of disaster?
    • If you are assisting the homeowner then answer Yes, unless you are a not for profit assisting homeowners, otherwise, you need to find the owner. If you are a Land Contract Buyer, Rent to Own, or Lease with option to Purchase you should have that paperwork in hand to prove you are the owner via land contract purchase. Otherwise, no-one will be eligible under your land contact purchase. 
  8. Contact Information: 
    • Would you like to provide an address and contact information that is different than the address of your damaged home?
    • It's best to keep with one address and that address should be your damaged homes address. If you need to get mail sent to a different location I would suggest forwarding all your postal mail. The program will have difficulty keeping up with two addresses. You should be working by Email 100% of the time and the only time you would speak with Restore would be to check on your survey, application or grant status.
  9. Disaster
    • Which major disaster damaged your home?
    • Select all that apply.
    • Please note that the state has only been allocated funding for Hurricanes Laura, Delta, Ida, and the May 2021 Severe Storms (May 2021 Flood Event)
    • Hurricane Laura (2020) DR-4559
    • Hurricane Delta (2020) DR-4570
    • Hurricane Zeta (2020) (Not listed in allocations not eligible)
    • February 2021 Winter Storm Event (Not listed in allocations not eligible)
    • May 2021 Flood Event DR-4606
    • Hurricane Ida (2021) DR-4611
      • You will need to select an eligible disaster that matches your FEMA claim.
  10. FEMA Registration Number:
    • If so, please enter the FEMA registration number that you were given when you applied for Individual Assistance for each storm event that impacted your home.
    • Did you apply for FEMA Individual Assistance?
    • FEMA issued you a registration number, if you do not have it or forgot it call FEMA and ask for it and setup your online account.
    • If you do not have a FEMA number and are not able or unwilling to get a FEMA number you will not be eligible.
    • If you do not know your 9-digit FEMA registration number, you may call the FEMA Disaster Helpline at 1-800-621-3362, and select the “For calls related to disaster assistance” option and request assistance with acquiring your registration ID number from a FEMA Disaster Helpline agent.
  11. FEMA Damage report questions:
    • Check this box if you had more than one (1) foot of flooding on the ground floor of your home.
      • If the damaged property received more than one foot of flooding on the ground floor of your home during the disaster event/s you selected in Question 4, please check the first box. This question will help the program verify the damage level to your home.
      • If you were flooded and have proof of 12" or more of flood water over the top of the lowest finished floor you can qualify for grants to assist with repairs even if you did not have flood insurance.
      • If you live in a manufactured home (mobile home) and you were flooded your home will most likely be replaced especially if it is older than 8 years.
    • Check this box if your roof was significantly damaged by wind and you were/are required to replace the roof.
      • If the roof of the damaged property was significantly damaged by wind during the disaster event/s you selected in Question 4, requiring you to replace the roof in its entirety, please check the second box. This question will help the program verify damage level to your home.
      • This question is to assist homeowners with strengthening their roof for higher wind speeds. The new standards will allow focus on complete roof replacement to include roof decking if required under the program guidelines.
  12. Occupant
    • Information about occupants of the house at the time of the disaster(s) that damaged your home (if multiple, use the time of the most recent disaster)
    • Select if you have a medical disability and/or 62 years of age or older and the total number of individuals living in your home that the household is responsible for regarding housing expenses, food, shelter, etc.
  13. Household Income
    • Using the table above, select the income range that matches the total gross income for all members of the household (age 18 and older).
    • a. $44,901 - or more
    •  b. $28,051 - 44,900
    • c. $16,851 - 28,050
    • d. $0 - 16,850
    • The Parish and Household Members fields should autofill from information provided in previous questions. Please select the appropriate range of income for ALL household members 18 years or older, not just owners at the time of disaster. The range you select should be a sum, adding together all incomes for household members.
    • Your gross income, also known as gross pay on your paycheck, is the individual’s total pay from all sources before taxes or other deductions.
    • When the state requests that you add up the total income for your household you should be following HUD guidelines which is to use your Net Income (income before taxes and expenses) for each income earner living in the home that are of 18 years of age or older.
    • The state of Louisiana does not offer information about self-employed or small business owners operating as sole proprietors. The guidance HUD provides, "Net Income Profits or net earnings of a company determined by gross income less deductible expenses and depreciation." which needs to be presented to the state and challenged if small business owners are not allowed to use Profit/Loss and Personal Income as Net Income. If you are a retailer then your COGS will be part of your argument. But as of today, the state has not addressed this issue that was identified in 2017 and again in 2019.
    • Two methods of calculating self-employed income.
      Method #1: Gross Income - Deductible Expenses +/- Adjustments and Add Backs = Eligible Self-Employed Income
      Method #2: Net Profit/Loss +/- Adjustments and Add Backs = Eligible Self-Employed Income
    • Identify what the a,b,c,d income ranges mean; Selection is A=Average Income, B=Moderate income, C=Low Income, D=Very Low Income and is based the HUD average income for your metro area.
    • CPD Income Eligibility Calculator User Manual – Version 9, June 15, 2022 page 15: If the member is over 18 AND is a FULL TIME STUDENT AND is not the head or co-head (spouse) of household AND if the sum of his/her anticipated employment income is over $480 THEN the total amount of his/her employment income is capped at $480 during the calculation of annual gross income.
  14. Insurance
    • Did you have homeowners' insurance (hazard) on the structure of your home?
    • This is the insurance policy you have that covers the homes damages. If you have a standard homeowners policy and it covers wind damage enter that policy. It will also ask if you had national flood insurance program flood insurance (NFIP) and would be needed if you were flooded. But if you were flooded and were not required to have flood insurance the program will assist you. When you enter the amount of insurance you received be sure you only total the amount give for home repairs. Do not add your personal property replacement insurance to this total.
    • Yes/No. When asked: "Have you ever received federal assistance (FEMA, SBA, CDBG) from a previous disaster prior to 2020-2021?" be sure your response is regarding your current residence and not a previous home you owned then sold. This question will leave you ineligible like it did for many Katrina survivors who sold their homes and moved to another area and was not required to have flood insurance. Have you ever received federal assistance for a disaster while living in the home that you listed for this disaster?
    • If you answered Yes above then: Were you required to maintain flood insurance?
    • This is the question Katrina survivors answer wrong and disqualify themselves because of their answer: Have you maintained flood insurance since the previous disaster? No/Yes: No is correct if you no longer own the home that you received federal assistance from disasters prior to the current application disaster. But, if this is the same home and you dropped your NFIP insurance and you were flooded you're going to have to file an appeal with very good supporting documents to why you couldn't pay your flood insurance. It is possible to win appeals but be warned, it's a long slow process and requires your focus on HUD policy and national objectives.
    • Have you received a Substantial Damage Determination Letter from your local jurisdiction (City or Parish) that you can provide to the Program if requested? If you have a letter from your municipality indicating that your damage is more than the market value of your home you must inform them of that now. It's actually good because you can and should receive assistance to mitigate and repair or replace your home.
    • Have you ever received federal assistance (FEMA, SBA, CDBG) from a previous disaster prior to 2020-2021?
    • If Yes, Were you required to maintain flood insurance?
    • If Yes, Have you maintained flood insurance since the previous disaster?
  15. Have you received a Substantial Damage Determination from your local jurisdiction due to the damage to your home?
    • Substantial Damage Determination letters (SDL) are only issued to properties located in a Special Flood Hazard Area. If your local jurisdiction made a determination of substantial damage to your home following the disaster event's that led to damage, please select “Yes.” When the cost of the repairs equals or exceeds 50% of the pre-damage market value of the home, the damages are considered Substantial Damage.
    • If your home is a manufactured home older than 8 years of age and you are located in a SFHA you may benefit from information published in this article: "FEMA remote inspectors omitted the Substantial Damage Estimate process for Manufactured homes."
  16. Year House Was Constructed
    • Was your home constructed prior to 1978? 
    • If your home was constructed prior to 1978, please select “Yes.” Homes constructed before 1978 were constructed using lead-based paint in the home, so this question helps determine if lead-based paint may need to be addressed during the repair process. This question does not determine eligibility.
    • This is for the EPA testing and if your home may have lead based paint. It will not change your edibility no matter how you answer. It's for HUD's data collection on lead based paint. You would most likely see someone asking to do an EPA review.
    • Do you know if this home has gone through a major renovation since 1978, including new paint to the exterior and/or interior of the home?
    • This simply tells the state and HUD that your lead based home may have had non lead based paint painted over the old lead based paint. 
    • Do you have a concern of lead-based paint in the home?
    • Please state whether you have a concern that there is currently lead-based paint in the damaged home.
  17. About Home Repairs
      • This section attempts to identify which Solution might best fit your needs if you are allowed into the program. There are no wrong answers to this section. Their are no questions that will make you ineligible. No matter your answer now, you can change it later if you are invited into the program. 
      • No/Yes Have any repairs been done for storm-related damage on your home? 
      • No/Yes Have you engaged a contractor? (Meaning you have hired a contactor. Getting an estimate is not hiring a contractor. It's part of the process but you have not engaged a contractor.)
      • No/Yes Have you completed the repairs? 
      • No/Yes Are you back in your home? 
      • No/Yes What is the estimated dollar amount of materials purchased and labor paid to date for your repairs?
      • No/Yes If you have not completed the repairs, are you interested in rebuilding/repairing your home?
      • No/Yes If you do not want to rebuild your home, would you be interested in selling your home? 

It's important to understand how your state hired contractors write in their English. "Have you engaged a contractor?" is a big NO if you haven't hired a contractor. And if you hired a contractor then you will need that contractor to do a very detailed itemized report of all the repairs that they did. The state has it's spreadsheet (I have it online as well) and you can calculate what your reimbursement will be if they start reimbursement programs. 

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