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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

September 2, 2016

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

Dear Mr. President:

First, I want to thank you again for personally visiting flood impacted areas of Louisiana on August 23, 2016, and for sending a number of your cabinet-level secretaries to our state in response to the August floods. I am confident that it was beneficial for you and members of your cabinet to witness first-hand some of the severe impacts the floods had on Louisiana's families and businesses, and in particular visiting with Louisianans who were literally in the process of gutting their homes and trying to determine a clear path towards their recovery.

During your visit, and in my August 23rd letter to you, I requested both a supplemental appropriation of Disaster Recovery Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-DR) funds and an allocation to the Army Corps of Engineers for the Comite River Diversion project, in order to assist Louisiana in its recovery from the severe storms and flooding occurring in both March and August 2016. The combination of these two storm events has had a devastating impact on our state and our citizens. While short-term relief for immediate needs available through FEMA for items such as temporary rental assistance, essential home repairs, and other serious disaster-related needs are greatly needed and greatly appreciated, our full recovery will not be realized without additional help. This is particularly true for the large number of residents who experienced flooding outside of the designated high-risk flood zones. The majority of these citizens did not carry flood insurance, and I impress upon you that they will not be able to make critical decisions on rebuilding their homes and their lives without the availability of CDBG-DR funds. This additional assistance is critical to Louisiana's full recovery from these floods.

Because of this, I am reiterating to you my call for a Congressional appropriation of CDBG-DR funds for Louisiana, and that this appropriation take place during Congress' September session. Based on the information we have thus far, I believe $2 billion of CDBG-DR funds for additional public investments in housing, economic development, and resilient infrastructure will be necessary for the recovery of our state. With FEMA verified unmet needs in housing repairs, which are typically well below what is actually required to repair a home, estimated at over $900 million, and taking into account that as many as 15% of households may never register for FEMA Individual Assistance, and understanding that over 80% of the flooded homes did not have flood insurance at the time, the funds required to bring these communities back could well exceed $1.2 billion in housing alone. Considering these losses, in combination with the economic impacts of over $3 billion and the as yet unknown public infrastructure damages, I believe $2 billion in CDBG-DR funds is a very reasonable request.

I have discussed the importance of a CDBG-DR appropriations with all of the members of Louisiana's Congressional Delegation, seeking their full backing and asking that they secure the endorsement of their Congressional colleagues. In support of this request, I offer just some of the damage data and estimates of the substantial and long-term impacts of both the August and March flood events:

As a result of the August floods, preliminary data show:

  • Damage to over 55,000 homes has been documented by FEMA so far, with the number expected to rise to over 110,000 as individual assistance (IA) registrations and inspections continue;
  • Based on current registration numbers and historic trends, we estimate that over 150,000 households will apply for individual assistance, with an estimated housing unmet need of $750 million to over $1 billion;
  • Over 80% of flooded households did not have flood insurance, as most were not in the 100-year floodplain;
    Initial indications are that the majority of the flooded households are low-to-moderate income and 20% are renters;
  • Thousands of miles of state and local roads remained under water for extended periods. Estimates are that 30 state roads washed out and 1,400 bridges will need to be inspected;
  • Along with over 200 highways closed statewide during the event, sections of Interstates 10 and 12 were closed for multiple days due to floodwaters. Some areas of I-10 remained closed for nearly a week, significantly interrupting interstate commerce;
  • An estimated 31% of the homes in the impacted parishes are in areas affected by flooding, and only 11% of households in the flood impacted areas carry flood insurance;
  • Conservative estimates for economic impact to the agricultural sector currently stand at over $110 million;
  • Estimates of economic loss in labor productivity stand at over $300 million, with an estimated $836 million loss in value added during the period immediately surrounding the storm;
  • Current estimates indicate that over 6,000 businesses experienced flooding, with structural, inventory and equipment damages of over $2.2 billion;
  • Operations at 19,900 (20%) of Louisiana businesses were disrupted, with a total workforce disruption of 278,500 workers, or 14% of the Louisiana workforce;
    5,447 disaster-related unemployment claims have been filed as of August 18, 2016;
  • Estimates of public infrastructure damage are under way, but will take considerably more time to compile and analyze;
  • Total estimated losses from this disaster, not including public infrastructure, are over $8.7 billion.

As a result of the March storms and flooding:

  • More than 29,000 homes were damaged;
  • A total of 6,143 non-housing structures were damaged;
    Along with numerous road closures during the event, estimates of $20 million in road and bridge damage;
  • Agricultural losses of approximately $15 million, with long-term impacts to farmers of $80 million;
  • 521 disaster-related unemployment claims have been filed;
    Over 40,000 citizens registered for individual assistance.

I am confident that with the local, state and federal resources already being applied to this disaster, along with the resources I'm requesting here, Louisiana will recover from this disaster stronger than before. With smart investments in housing, economic development, infrastructure and planning, we can make our state more resilient in the face of future disasters, whatever they may be. It is also worth noting that because Louisiana has been the recipient of CDBG-DR funds for previous disasters, our state already has the necessary infrastructure in place to appropriately and compliantly administer these funds. Be assured that we will continue to be good stewards of these taxpayer dollars, and that they will go toward the recovery of our state and its citizens.

In spite of the fact that this was a 1,000 year flood event, we know that we can expect more extreme weather events in the future. Because of this, we also feel it is critical that we take steps to make our communities safer in the future. The Comite River Diversion project has been in the works for nearly 20 years, and, if completed, would have reduced some of the impacts of this flood event. We believe it is critical to fully fund this project, as well as complete studies of the Amite River Basin to guide our future investments in resilient infrastructure in this watershed. Understanding how to reduce flood levels in the basin and taking steps to do so is a far superior option to simply trying to elevate all the homes out of the floodplain. As such, I am also including a request for funding for thse efforts through the Army Corpos of Engineers to complete the work that has been started, including $125 million to complete the Comite River Diversion project.

Mr. President, in the face of the adversity our state is experiencing, I have been so proud to have witnessed how Louisiana and her citizens have remained "Louisiana Strong." In response to both disasters, neighbors, school and church groups, and non-profit organizations immediately stepped up to provide needed flood, shelter and care for those who lost homes and possessions. And since the storms we have seen a tremendous outpouring of support from our fellow Americans across the entire country, lending their love and support to our state. The generous hearts and spirit of resilience of the American citizen continues to be an inspiration.

I am confident that with your continued support, our state will be provided with the necessary appropriation of CDBG-DR funds to work towards a full recovery.

Thank you for your partnership in this effort, and for your attention to this request.

John Bel Edwards

cc: FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate
HUD Secretary Julian Castro
USACE Chief of Engineers and Commanding General Lt. General Todd T. Semonite
Senator David B. Vitter
Senator William G. "Bill" Cassidy
Congressman Stephen J. Scalise
Congressman Cedric L. Richmond
Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr.
Congressman John C. Fleming, Jr.
Congressman Ralph L. Abraham, Jr.
Congressman Garret N. Graves

FAQ No. 65    

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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