154. July 2018 Edwards increases reimbursement from 50% to 100%, takes little into consideration about homeowners.

Louisiana Governor Edwards has limited space for Disaster Victims in his political agenda.

July 2018 Edwards increases reimbursement from 50% to 100%, takes little into consideration about homeowners.

Report: "Homeowner Program Reimbursement Expansion Recommendation Conference Call "

Governors Office: We've been running updates on our current numbers and projections regularly in the recent weeks, attempting to project based on historical responses to surveys and new survey respondents leading up to the deadline. We were able to update the numbers today and wanted to provide you with those figures.

We are projecting 10,230 will receive an additional grant through this program change, which will result in around $110 million in additional awards.

This accounts for around 64% of the projected total population (just under 16,000) assisted through this program and around 20% of the total projected dollar value of the awards ($537.2 million) that will be made to homeowners.

Task Force Member: My final question before tomorrows meeting; What encouraged the Governor's team to put the $110 million into additional awards for homeowners as opposed to infrastructure or economic development? I know you may not be able to answer, but I think someone from the Governor's team should be clear in their thinking.

Task Force Member: We know now that we have $1.2 billion coming for flood Risk Reduction Infrastructure Investments, so our need there at this point is less.

I am trying to visualize how well we have done in restoring homes in the state. I live in an area that was not flooded so I have no visual evidence that the storm even occurred based on what I see every day. If I went to the Central area, or to Livingston Parish, or to certain areas in other parishes, would I see evidence of homes that are still in great need of assistance? Are we going to spend all the money we have allocated to homeowners?

State: You would see lots of fully recovered homes, not all of them with our help, and you would also see some homes still not habitable, but not that many, I don't think.

To your second question, we are certainly going to spend it. Whether we spend it on the homeowner program depends in large part on whether we get relief from the SBA DOB problem. If we don't, we'll look to other recovery investments opportunities, likely in infrastructure, rental housing and economic development.

Task Force Member: It does not seem we have spent a lot of the money on homeowners at this time if I am reading the numbers right. Do we have a time table and we have not heard from HUD about the SBA DOB issue? How long do we wait before we start spending on rental housing? It seems that after a number of years, housing needs will not e as crucial, we could reimburse but that is about all.

State: I really appreciate your comments and questions. They're really getting at some of the issues we're struggling with. On the SBA issue, the Governor has said that we have to set a deadline after which work has to move on. That will be likely this fall. (2018)
As for the rental housing, that need is critical and will continue to be so regardless of our efforts, so that is never a bad investment.

NNNNN END REPORT

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