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Office of the Governor State of Louisiana John Bel Edwards

P.O. Box 94004 Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804-9004
(225) 342-7015

August 23, 2016

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I would first like to thank you for visiting Louisiana and for the support your administration is giving to our state in this time of great need. As Louisiana rebuilds from this catastrophic and historic flooding event, our federal partners have been responsive to all our requirements. In particular, I want to express my appreciation for the work done by administrator Fugate and his team at FEMA. From the very beginning of this event, FEMA has been by our side and I am confident this cooperation will continue through our recovery.

As you know, this flood event has been devastating for south Louisiana. It has resulted in destruction to homes, businesses, and public infrastructure in twenty-six (26) parishes, with twenty (20) of those parishes being included in the Major Disaster Declaration. Further, this event comes on the heels of the March 2016 flood event which saw flooding in every corner of the state and included thirty-seven (37) parishes in the Major Disaster Declaration. s in previous times of difficulty for Louisiana, our people have risen to meet the challenge and to help their friends, families, and neighbors - or even total strangers - begin the process of starting anew. While we do not doubt the ability of our citizens to recover, we need the help of the federal government. Thus, after careful consideration of Louisiana's needs, I ask that you consider the following requests.

  1. State cost share reduction. I ask you to grant Louisiana relief from the 25% costs share from this event and for the March 2016 flood event. Given the amount of destruction from both of these declared disasters, I am confident that we will exceed the threshold of $137 in damages per capita. In this event, we believe well over 100,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. In March, more than 29,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. Further, the damage to public buildings, roads, and bridges has been devastating. While we are still assessing damages from this flood, we know that from the March Floods we have over $20 million in damages to roads and bridges. The damage from this most event will be considerably higher. I therefore ask you to reduce Louisiana's cost share from 25% to 10%. Further, because the need to get our citizens back in their homes and communities quickly and safely is so acute, I ask that you forgive completely the state's cost share for the the Temporary Shelter Assistance (TSA) program and the shelter in home assistance available under Category B.
  2. Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds. As you know, this was a one in a thousand year flood event, and most of the affected homeowners did not, nor were required to, have flood insurance. The individual Assistance funds that will be available, while critical, will simply not be sufficient to allow our citizens to rebuild their homes. Without an appropriation of CDBG-DR funds, many neighborhoods and communities will not be able to recover. I ask that you include a supplemental appropriation in your budget request to Congress to fill the enormous gap that will exist between the available funds and the costs to rebuild. Given that we are still assessing the damage to homes, businesses, and public infrastructure, I ask that you allow me to supplement this request in short order with hard data about the needs for Louisiana. Within ten (10) days, I believe I will be able to provide you with clear information about the damage assessments and specifics about the necessary federal assistance.
  3. Hazard mitigation funds. Administrator Fugate has confirmed that this event will not cause FEMA to revisit its flood maps, and that those homes and businesses not in flood zones will not need to be elevated. This is a very welcome statement, which will allow for homeowners to immediately begin the process of rebuilding their homes. We do not plan to encourage or require homeowners to immediately begin the process of rebuilding their homes. We do not plan to encourage or require homeowners and businesses to simply build higher. Instead, I intend to focus on large scale and community based mitigation projects. One such project is the Comite River Diversion Project. This project, which was first authorized in 1994, would have diverted a significant amount of the flow of the Comite River into the Mississippi River and away from homes and businesses in East Feliciana, St. Helena, East Baton Rouge, and Livingston parishes. The Corps [Army Corps of Engineers] reports the construction plans are 95% complete. in the First Extraordinary Session of the Louisiana Legislature this year, I approved state funds to relocate utilities. Residents have paid taxes for this project for nearly 20 years. All that remains to be funded is the congressionally authorized federal share. To facilitate this request, I ask that you allocate $125 million to the Army Corps of Engineers to construct this critical flood protection project. Further, I ask that you further empower Louisiana and allow for inclusion of Work-In-Kind on this project. I also request that Louisiana be able to use recovery funds to satisfy the non-federal share of acquisitions of Land, Easements, Rights of Way, Relocations, and Disposals (LERRDS). This worthy and necessary project is only one part of the hazard mitigation plan that we intend to develop with federal funding and assistance.
  4. FHWA Emergency Highway funding. This flooding event inundated many roadways throughout southern Louisiana, affecting interstate highways, along with dozens of state, parish, and local roads. Our Department of Transportation and Development is actively inspecting all affected roads and bridges, and it is certain the infrastructure needs will be immediate and significant. To help Louisiana respond to this disaster, the Emergency Relief funding backlog must be cleared. By clearing this $724 million backlog, Louisiana would be able to receive $14 million from the March 2016 flood and up to $25 million for the most recent flooding. Further, given the backlog, I ask that you also waive the 180 day limit on Emergency Relief funds. I also request that the state be allowed to use ER funds to mitigate roadway inundation to ensure that interstate highways remain open and available, even during future flood events.
  5. Title 32 status for Louisiana National Guard. In an August 17, 2016 letter to Secretary Ashton Carter, I requested that the Louisiana National Guard be granted Title 32 USC 502(f) status for up to 2,800 Soldiers and Airmen called up in active duty in response to the flooding. I ask that you and Secretary Carter give strong consideration to this request which would allow for 100% funding of the LANG response for 30 days of service.
  6. Waiver of state cost share for Hurricane and Storm Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS). While this storm was not a named tropical system, it is a stark reminder of the destruction that could be caused if a hurricane were to strike Louisiana. To protect against such a future disaster, we must restore our coast. However, the costs to do so are enormous. Because of the funding arrangement and state share requirements for the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity (LPV) and Westbank and Vicinity (WPV) projects, Louisiana is obligated to make approximately $100 million in annual payments to the federal government through 2048, which will result in payments of over $3 billion. These obligations are crippling to the state as we attempt to fund Master Plan projects designed to save the Louisiana coast. The 2012 Master Plan has a 50 year cost of $50 billion, and I fully expect the 2017 Master Plan to have significantly higher costs. As such, I request that you grant Louisiana a full waiver of the cost share requirements for these projects. A full waiver will allow Louisiana to spend these needed funds on coastal projects to prevent future disasters. Further, these coastal protection projects will protect the federal investments in the LPV and WPV as well as the necessary infrastructure of the oil and gas industry.
  7. Community Disaster Loan Program. While this is a program normally used for local governments, I request taht you allow FEMA to use this program to provide needed funding for Louisiana. Beause of the significant budget shortfalls I inherited from my predecessor and the low price of oil, Louisiana is in the throws of a budget crisis. Even before this disaster, we anticipated significant cash flow issues in the fall that which will be worsened and more imminent with the recent spending in response to the flood. Before this event, my administration was in consideration of floating revenue anticipation bonds to carry us through this cash flow crisis. If this loan program were to be made available to the state, Louisiana would be able to recover from this event more effectively, while at the same time getting back on sound financial footing.
  8. Recovery Task Force. In the coming days, I intend to issue an Executive Order creating a task force to oversee the recovery from this flood event. Given the need for federal help, I ask that you trigger FEMA's National Disaster Recovery Framework to assist this task force in the coordination of Louisiana's recovery. Further, I ask that you delegate members of your administration from Housing and Urban Development, Homeland Security, Transportation, Commerce, and Health and Human Services to be full participants in this task force. With meaningful participation in the planning and development of programs to assist our citizens to return to their communities, our federal partners can continue to be part of rebuilding Louisiana.

    The people of Louisiana are strong and resilient. However, the severity of this flood event, combined with the other difficulties faced in this state over the last several months, is testing our spirit in ways we have not seen since the challenges posed by Hurricane Katrina. While I know our best days remain in front of us, we need help from the federal government to get us there. I ask that you please consider all of these requests and that you encourage your administration to continue its strong support for Louisiana's recovery.

    John Bel Edwards

    cc: FEMA Administrator, W. Craig Fugate
    Senator David B. Vitter
    Senator William G. "Bill" Cassidy
    Congressman Stephen J. Scalise
    Congressman Cedric L. Richmond
    Congressman Garret N. Graves
    Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr.
    Congressman Ralph L. Abraham, Jr.
    Congressman John C. Fleming, Jr.

Research Reference:

FAQ No. 63    

Date: 2-3-2019 Updated: 2-3-2019 Subject:

State of Louisiana HUD CDBG-DR AMI (%) Percentage.

AMI up to 80% 2018 (low to moderate) PDF Download.

AMI up to 120% 2018/19 (average) PDF Download.

Need more information? Here's your jump board.

If your AMI changed from below 80% to over 80% and under 120% you can appeal that your increase has not be for two consecutive years. Over 120% AMI you can argue the on the same grounds if your increase has not been for 2 consecutive years. (Based on light Sunday reading)

Those of you that are over HUD's income limits (120%) and would like to understand more about how HUD determines over income limits this link is for you.
Resource link: FR-2018-07-26

Very Low Income * 2.4 = 120% AMI.
Very Low Income is 50% AMI.
Example: State wide VLI family of 2 = $24,850
$24,850 * 2.4 = $59,640 120% or HUD Income Limit.
So be sure the state doesn't use the math I just showed you. Some areas are much higher while others are lower. The state really likes to put everyone in one box, so look out for a spreadsheet with the above calculations in VLI for your areas.

Example: Louisiana State Wide 120% AMI.

Research Resources:

FAQ No. 135    

Date: 6-16-2019 Updated: 6-16-2019 Subject: AMI

34. Rental assistance to displaced homeowners. The requirement of 42 U.S.C. 5305(a)(8) are modified to authorize grantees to extend rental assistance payments on behalf of qualified homeowners for up to 24 months. After a disaster, many homeowners encounter unanticipated delays and scarcity of available construction and/or elevation contractors in their area. While undergoing rehabilitation of their homes, most of these homeowners are forced to pay not only a mortgage, but a rental payment as well since their homes are not inhabitable. In other cases, homeowners who have paid off their mortgages must accommodate this additional rental expense into their budgets. In order to provide temporary financial assistance to these families, many of whom are low- or moderateincome households, HUD is modifying the requirements at 42 U.S.C. 5305(a)(8) to the extent necessary to allow grantees to provide up to 24 months of homeowner rental assistance to eligible applicants within the grantee's singlefamily rehabilitation/reconstruction programs. In the case of rehabilitation programs in which the homeowner is responsible for construction oversight, the grantee must establish performance milestones for the rehabilitation that are to be met by the homeowner in order to receive such payments. A grantee using this alternative requirement must document, in its policies and procedures, how it will determine the amount of assistance to be provided is necessary and reasonable. Homeowners receiving interim mortgage assistance are not eligible for rental assistance.

Resource Research:

FAQ No. 134    

Date: 6-15-2019 Updated: 6-15-2019 Subject: Allocations

33. Limitation on emergency grant payments - interim mortgage assistance. 42 U.S.C. 5305(a)(8) is modified to extend interim mortgage assistance to qualified individuals from 3 months to up to 20 months. Interim mortgage assistance is typically used in conjunction with a buyout program, or the rehabilitation or reconstruction of single-family housing, during which mortgage payments may be due but the home is uninhabitable. The time required for a household to complete the rebuilding process may often extend beyond 3 months, during which mortgage payments may be due but the home is inhabitable. Thus, this interim assistance will be critical for many households facing financial hardship during this period. Grantees may use interim housing rehabilitation payments to expedite recovery assistance to homeowners, but must establish performance milestones for the rehabilitation that are to be met by the homeowner in order to receive such payments. A grantee using this alternative requirement must document, in its policies and procedures, how it will determine the amount of assistance to be provided is necessary and reasonable.

Resource Research:

FAQ No. 133    

Date: 6-15-2019 Updated: 6-15-2019 Subject: Allocations

"Dear Homeowner,

You are receiving this notification because you have not closed on your grant award offered by Restore Louisiana.

Please note that you MUST execute your grant agreement by Wednesday, July 31, 2019 or the grant offered will be rescinded and you will no longer be able to participate in the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program. "

According to reports filed for April and May the state of Louisiana Office of Community Development Disaster Recovery Unit working under the name of Restore Louisiana Homeowners Program has increased it's speed of processing grant awards by increasing the number of rescinded grants offered to homeowners.

April of 2019, 30 homeowners have had their HUD CDBG-DR grant awards rescinded by the state for state created policy reasons.

May of 2019 278 homeowners have had their HUD CDBG-DR grant awards rescinded by the state for state created policy reasons.

The state of Louisiana's timing will match the 3rd year since the flood and fall on or close to the anniversary date of the August 12th 2016 floods.

It appears the state has not formally offered homeowners with alternatives to their recovery. With over 2,000 homeowners at risk of losing everything from the flood to include all additional grant funds for unmet needs the state will face additional homelessness and blight as a result of meeting goals and deadline.

HUD officially allows the state to run the distribution of funds up and to the Sept. 2022. The state of Louisiana OCD-DRU has announced several times the closing dates of programs in 2018 and continues by rewording the closing of programs to the rescinding of grant awards.

"Elsewhere, this notice describes the extension of the expenditure deadline that the Department is authorized to provide to all CDBG-NDR (NDR = National Disaster Resilience) grantees, allowing them to expend funds until September 30, 2022. "

Grantee Name: Louisiana
Grant Number: B-16-DL-22_0001
Grant Award: $1,708,407,000
Balance: $973,501,310
Average of March, April, May Spending: $23,334,110
Grantee Spending Status: On Pace

NOTE: On Pace = Spending greater than the monthly pace required to fully use the grant by target closeout date.

Research Resource:

FAQ No. 132    

Date: 6-13-2019 Updated: 6-13-2019 Subject: State Contractors

Tulane University , LSU, University of Louisiana at Lafayette did you receive your invitation to bid on what Executive Order Number JBE 2018 - 16 details?

Do you have copies of the discussions and first drafts?

"WHEREAS, Louisiana has invested and is continuing to invest significant resources toward creating organizations such as The Water Institute of the Gulf and university centers that build the state's strength as a unique, global leader in water management; and

Have you participated with the collection of data related to Mississippi River Basin Wide Modeling in the past decade with a group called "The Water Institute of the Gulf?"

Several Not For Profits, For Profits, and University Science Research groups may have been purposely excluded from grant awards published in Public Law 115-123.

Editors Note: Has the state of Louisiana and it's capital region taken economic development over collaborated scientific research between Not for Profits, Universities and For Profit organizations?

Modeling software developed by one university may share the same data as another and provides slightly different results. Modeling software such as Hurricane Tracking software often produces different results. They may be similar but no two data calculating applications seem to produce the same results. Many factors are included but are not important for this report. What is important is knowing that non technical, non science community individuals have lobbied for specific modeling software provided by a group that is located in a part of the state of Louisiana that is only interested in economic growth from the grant awards related to Public Law 115-123.

FAQ No. 131    

Date: 6-13-2019 Updated: 6-13-2019 Subject: Watershed

Let's first start off with some resources to bring you up to speed.

Then, in a article we'll share what one homeowner is doing in the southern state of Louisiana to fight against rusty ducts, dirt, moisture in the air and just plan cool sticky inside the home. Enough, we're not from the stone age, let's work the science of building.

Resources to read:

FAQ No. 130    

Date: 6-9-2019 Updated: 6-9-2019 Subject: Construction

You will find a time you need to question those who claim to know their processes. You will need to be able to research those inspecting and offering you information to make sure you are given the best most accurate information. It is your duty to verify everything that is said to you verbally, cross reference everything that is in writing and be sure you know you have the right to ask questions until you have a full understanding of your FEMA sponsored recovery.

Your family, your home, your property is and should be the most important thing in your life during a disaster and during the disaster recovery period. It may take you months or years to recover, you are the only one that will protect your rights to federal assistance. Don't sit back thinking someone is going to do it all for you. Get active and become pro-active with your Federal Disaster Assistance. It's not a handout, you have paid into the system since the first day you paid federal taxes.

  • Bulletins
    • FEMA issued Bulletins to the NFIP Clearinghouse Community
  • Claims
    • More information for Claims & Adjuster Community
  • Underwriting
    • More information for the community regarding Policy
  • Manuals
    • Links to various Flood Insurance Manuals
  • NFIP Training
    • Links to NFIP Training Courses for Agents and Adjusters.
  • BureauNet Reporting
    • The place to go for reporting and community related documentation.

Research Resource:

FAQ No. 129    

Date: 6-4-2019 Updated: 6-4-2019 Subject:

It appears that your NFIP will cover floodway as well as spillway floods even if the Army Corps of Engineers opened the spillway waters.

In fact, the Morganza Spillway actually flows into a Floodway then that spills over into the "Spillway" which causes the flooding.

FEMA defines a flood as: A flood is (1) "A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is your property) from a. overflow of inland or tidal waters; b. unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; or c. mudflow*. (2) collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined in A.1.a. above."
Get the news out to those that own homes in Floodways or Spillways that can qualify for a mortgage that will require you to have NFIP coverage.

The 30 day waiting period does not apply to secured loans using your home as security such as a mortgage. Also, you can insure your home for up to $250,000 for the structure and up to $100,000.
You would have to have all of your contents placed inside the NFIP insured structure before the flood event.

From FEMA Flood Smart website: "If you purchase flood insurance in connection with making, increasing, extending or renewing your mortgage loan, there is no waiting period."
Check with your banks and your NFIP agents to make sure they give you coverage when the storm is at your shoreline or the Mississippi is going to be opened up in your backyard. The FEMA trained people tell you you have to wait 30 days. But Lenders and Banks can get that waived.

Flood in Progress: FEMA memorandum June 30, 2011 "Guidance Related to Flood-in-Progress Exclusion and New Policy Applications" (Linked in resources below.)

This memorandum was in reference to the Morganza Spillway opening May 17, 2011. Once the Spillway is open it is a flood, a flood in progress and it is too late to insure your home at that point.

Please read this document if you do not have flood insurance and own a home in the spillway.
Research Resources:

FAQ No. 128    

Date: 6-3-2019 Updated: 6-3-2019 Subject:

Scientific American republished an article by E&E News titled "Levees Won't Save Louisiana from a Climate Existential Crisis
Republished E&E News article can be found at Scientific American article Levees Won't Save Louisiana from a Climate Existential Crisis
Additional links of interest that are embedded in the article are.

HUD Sponsored the report that the State of Louisiana OCD-DRU created and presented. It was part of the National Disaster Resilience Competition HUD sponsored with $1 billion in grants. The competition is designed to provide a national model for adaptation. Louisiana wasn't first in prize money but it did earn it's spot amongst 13 other states.

The report is intended to serve as a national model for adaptation. The Department of Housing and Urban Development funded the $40 million project in 2016 through its National Disaster Resilience Competition, which allocated $1 billion to 13 states and cities, from California to Minot, N.D., to develop responses to climate change.

FAQ No. 127    

Date: 6-2-2019 Updated: 6-2-2019 Subject:

From 2017 Research into SBA Loans Declined by Households that were below 80% AMI and did not sign the closing documents.

June 6, 2017 Third Appropriation Funding Recommendation - Conference Calls between Restore Louisiana Task Force Members:

"HUD allows the state to provide assistance to LMI homeowners who were approved an SBA loan, but declined it and never entered into a loan agreement with SBA. The cost of providing assistance to these homeowners is approximately an additional $5,152,000."

Additional research showed that in 2016 the state anticipated only 109 households would be in this category.

Follow up research first quarter of 2018 showed that the state did not have a process in place to notify homeowners that matched the "HUD" Nov. 16, 2011 Hardship Guidance and appeared to simply ignore the topic and allow the homeowners to think they had to wait for the Congressional SBA fix.

Follow up research 2nd quarter of 2018 an Advocate Reporter messaged me telling me the state closed the "Loophole" (His word) and no other hardships were being processed. This was the same time they changed Homeowners Assistance Director from a state employee to a temporary hire from CSRS Inc. by the name of Stacy Bonnaffons. As you all are aware, Stacy was the topic of a contract that did not get renewed because of a conflict of interest within the program and possible bid rigging. She has been cleared by the state ethics board but only for what was published. Could this actually be the person that denied Low to Moderate Income families their Recovery funds by not declaring hardships in accordance with HUD Guidance of Nov. 16, 2011?

Conclusion: Since management change that included temporary hires from CSRS Inc. no additional homeowners that qualified for a hardship waiver have reached out to me to report their status.

Fall of 2018, document requests identified what could be a minimum of 1,158 homeowners incorrectly classified under the Duplication of Benefits calculation for SBA loans. The states legal department headed up by Dan Rees by not responded to my request to research this issue has in my opinion allowed HUD Core Objectives to be ignored and has penalized Moderate to Low income families by not researching the 1,158 homeowners which the numbers (not names) were given to me by the same legal department in which Dan Rees works.

News media was informed about this issue and felt it was not "News Worthy" .

I would like to find ONE family, one family that applied for the SBA loan, then declined to accept the loan, did not sign the closing paperwork and is below the 80% AMI household income.

Help me find just one household that matches the Guidance from Nov. 16, 2011 and you may have just helped one thousands households recover after the flood.

I'm posting this because a law firm stated if you can prove damages they would represent the 1,158 in a class action. The damages are in the email, estimated $5,152,000 that may or may not have been allocated to low to moderate income families by the state during the time of CSRS Inc management.

Research Resources:

  • Emails Lori Dupont to Louisiana Task Force Members.
  • HUD Allocations discussion and conference calls.
  • Various state sources under the FOIA.

FAQ No. 126    

Date: 5-30-2019 Updated: 5-30-2019 Subject:

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