Louisiana Representative Edward Ted James, Dist 101 said it, we are echoing the call to fight hard Now!
When LA Rep James asked for a few minutes before Governor Edwards entered the room to express his feelings of how our Congressional Representatives were not fighting for Louisiana Disaster Victims hard enough, we ask, will he fight for us in our state?
By Murray Wennerlund published 8-16-2018 updated 2-25-2023
Make a contributionPDF PrintSBA LA Matters Under Review (MUR) Floods and flash floods 2.5K views
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Update 12-30-2021: State Representative Ted James has been appointed by the Biden Administration to District 6 Small Business Administration. Read the full story:
The question now is clearly in Mr. Ted James hands. After he worked on the Task Force directed to assist homeowners recover from the Great Floods of 2016 in Louisiana the SBA Loan program was one of the most devastating programs to low and moderate income households. Will Mr. James now speak out and tell people why the SBA loan is not in their best interest if they are below 100% AMI? Will Mr. James come clean and change the loan processing for District 6 so low income households are declined with a status code that would make the homeowner eligible for government grants? Only time will tell if this man who did nothing to change how the SBA loans were given to the poor is now in the perfect position to replace SBA loans with Federal Grants to all those below 100% AMI.
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This video is important to watch so please watch and share it with other disaster victims in our state.
We have a plan to help 3,800 or more Louisiana households and this Task Force member, as well as others can make it happen. Public input to make change to state policy is what we want and what we need.
Executive Order JBE-2016-65 allows the public to make suggestions. The order requires that the task force accept public input, provide a method for the public to submit input and to use public input to modify or change current policy or to create new programs and policy that will assist in the disaster recovery efforts of homeowners in the state of Louisiana.
Rep. James: "What I have not heard, what I have not witnessed is a true fight for this duplication of benefits issue to be corrected."
Note from Citizens to Rep. James, task force member: this issue of the Duplication of Benefits for those that have accepted the Federal Assistance is not your fight, it's the fight of our Congressional Representatives and the job of Congress to vote and pass whatever it takes to have the SBA Loans removed from the Duplication of Benefits calculation.
Your fight as a Louisiana Homeowners Assistance Task Force Member is to take our public input according to the executive order and make programs or policy changes from our input.
Background: Households that were approved by the SBA Disaster Loan program and later Declined to accept the federal assistance offered and have not received any money from the SBA are having their SBA approved loan amounts used as Duplication of Benefits. The State of Louisiana Office of Community Development - Disaster Recovery Unit applies ALL SBA approved loan amounts as SBA Duplication of Benefits even if the homeowner provides a letter from the SBA showing that the loan was declined or cancelled.
If you recall, the Governor announced that nearly 3,800 Louisiana Homeowners refused, declined, or did not accept the SBA federal assistance. If you recall the Governor also has grouped these same homeowners into the global SBA Loan issue.
We need you to fight for the 3,800! We the public ask that you pick up our input to make policy change today so 3,800 homeowners from around the state can continue with their rebuilds by removing SBA loan amounts that were never taken in the first place. Help remove these loan amounts from our Duplication of Benefits calculation and give us a fighting chance to rebuild after our historical flooding in 2016.
Representative James, please read the following and tell us all, the public, the citizens of Louisiana, the disaster victims what the following means to you and the people that declined, cancelled, withdrew from the SBA Federal Loan Assistance program and it's money.
"That with respect to any such duplication of benefits, the Secretary and any grantee under this section shall not take into consideration or reduce the amount provided to any applicant for assistance from the grantee where such applicant applied for and was approved, but declined assistance related to such major declared disasters that occurred in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 from the Small Business Administration under section 7(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 636(b)):" (Source: Text for H.R.1892 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018)
The public law as it is worded would allow those that were declined, cancelled or otherwise did not receive SBA federal assistance to have their SBA approved loan amount removed from the duplication of benefits calculation. We believe if you propose to other members of the LA Task Force this can become policy.
Mr. Durbin has asked if the state OCD-DRU could waive bottlenecks in the DOB screening process, this could be the relief policy 3,800 families could use to rebuild a safe and secure home. We need to provide homeowners with remedy to the Homeowner Responsibility issue. We have a remedy and only need you and the task force to help the public.
The only argument that the Louisiana Task Force has heard against this type of policy change comes from the Director of OCD-DRU Patrick Forbes. His argument was that if the homeowners didn't finish their homes HUD would require the state to return that money. We know this is not 100% accurate, the task force can move money to support unmet needs of the homeowners. HUD only requires a safe and secure living condition. If we have a proposal to assist 3,800 homeowners by following public law 115-123 which is published on the HUD Federal Register notices, we could then allow this to go to the public comment phase and with public support, HUD will agree to our proposed plan to use Public Law 115-123 to remove SBA loan amounts from homeowners that have canceled, declined or otherwise refused SBA federal assistance. With HUD approval we can allocate the funds needed to allow these homeowners to rebuild a Safe and Secure homes as desired by HUD.
The vote of the Task Force to make Public Law 115-123 part of our Louisiana Flood 2016 / 2017 recovery would help thousands across the state to rebuild.
Representative James, Task Force Member and advocate of the people, we the people, the citizens of Louisiana ask that you champion our cause to make the OCD-DRU Director Patrick Forbes accept into policy Federal Public Law 115-123.
Any homeowner that was approved but declined assistance during our 2016 floods shall not have the state OCD-DRU (Grantee) reduce or take into consideration as duplication of benefits the SBA loan amount reported to the state by the SBA.
Thank you and we look forward to working with you very soon Rep. James of the Louisiana Task Force and Louisiana State Representative District 101.
Section 2: The duties of the Task Force include, but are not limited to, the following:
A. The Task Force shall establish both short and long-term priorities in developing plans for recovery and redevelopment. Such priorities and plans shall draw upon traditional state resources and programs and create special programs dedicated to responding to the aftermath of the flooding. Such priorities and plans shall include timelines and benchmark goals. There must be a mechanism for public input and the opportunity to modify priorities and plans based on such input. These priorities and plans shall focus on the following areas: (1) housing and redevelopment; (2) economic and workforce development; (3) education; (4) infrastructure and transportation; (5) healthcare; (6) fixcal stability; (7) family services; and (8) agriculture.
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This article says more than most since hurricane Katrina. Its important to understand what happened with the HUD Grants during that period time and what HUD required states to do today. A simply fix has always been to allow for more draws than the 5 max.
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A goal for every homeowner should be to reduce your disaster debt burden for real costs of repairs and new construction after a declared disaster. This can be accomplished by having enough insurance to replace your home under any disaster classification.
From 700,000 to 2.4 million and they pick and choose what public communications they want to address. It pays well to not complete a task or contract with the state of Louisiana OCD-DRU under the direction of Patrick Forbes.
When you are navigating the federal disaster assistance agencies your first stop should be to the TruckAndTools.Com Disaster Resources. Every disaster agency uses the same process but not every disaster agency follows strict policy and guidance. Don't go into your disaster recovery with blind trust of your federal and state agencies that are leading the push to get you sheltered and out of the program.
State of Louisiana OCD-DRU sent out notices to Solution 2 Homeowners who are constructing new homes to replace their substantially damaged homes from the 2016 floods that their may not be enough funds to honor the grant agreement.
Your disaster recovery success often depends on the quality of information provided by your state workers or sub-contractors. In Louisiana we find most of the people assisting homeowners do not provide information until directly asked for information.
When federal funds for disaster relief are introduced into your state executive branch agencies for distribution to the states citizenry based on the states policy and procedure for eligibility and the states interpretation of federal agency policy.
For some households, the information I provide helps them get back in their homes. Others I've had a hand in helping them recovery from some of their disaster debt burden. In any case, when you use the information I provide and it's helpful and makes you more successful with your disaster rebuild or new construction then feel free to contribute what you can and when you can. It helps with the hours of unpaid research and reading.