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Questions about navigating Disaster Recovery programs.

Audio & Video topic scripts offer homeowner insight to issues with modern day disaster recovery.

State Homeland Security and Emergency Management agencies are costing homeowners Millions by not knowing how the sequence of disaster assistance works. It's also a known fact that each states Homeland Security and Emergency Management agencies are trained by FEMA which advises each state to send disaster victims to the SBA after applying for FEMA Grants.

The pieces are falling in place now that I'm following every states disaster program. It appears our weakest link is actually the states GOHSEP which advises under FEMA rules. This is the first step in correcting major issues with SBA loans for all future disasters. Either our GOHSEP starts telling the truth about the sequence of disaster recovery or we have a citizens group ask for equal air time to tell the people the state is lying by omitting the truth behind disaster recovery and the sequence of delivery.

It's also worth noting that while the state is preparing it's summary brief for HUD just weeks after the disaster the same state officials are telling you all to apply for SBA loans. Our state was aware of the outcome, asked for $2 billion in disaster recovery from HUD and announced we had historical SBA loan amounts given. At one time was estimated over $600 million then was lowered to $400 million. Currently it's estimated at $245.5 million which the state knew would not come out of the HUD funds because of DOB.

For all those conspiracy enthusiastic you can now tie any and all Not for Profits and Professionals that GOHSEP called in to speak at Task Force Meetings part of the problem in that they also were in the space to receive the correct information but they did not voice the information. How did we allow the state to ask for over $2 billion in American Taxpayers Money with the intent to default the American Taxpayers by pushing disaster victims to SBA Disaster Loans?

"Mr. Riley: Part of the FEMA process in the individual assistance program is when you register, they will not process your registration any further unless you first gone to the SBA and applied. The individual assistance grant program in FEMA terms is a grant program of last resorts, so they are going to make you go and look for other available federal programs first. And only if you get denied for SBA or the approved loan is not sufficient to cover all of the expenses caused by the damage then the other programs and individual assistance program will kick in."
Research Resource: Restore Louisiana Task Force Meeting Sept. 28, 2016.

FAQ No. 107    

Date: 3-23-2019 Updated: 3-23-2019 Subject:

Restore Louisiana Homeowners Program Action Plan Amendment 10 placed $5 million in additional grant funds for those of you that need help keeping from foreclosure on there mortgage.

The program was designed for Low income households of 50% AMI or lower. The state OCD-DRU lists the Restore Program is taking 80% AMI or below. But don't let income requirements leave you homeless, I know the state can waive income requirements if it's in the best interest of HUD's national objective to reduce homelessness.

The link below offers more information than what the state is offering.

Have the homeowner contact their case worker or call the toll free number from Restore.La.Gov website to sign up for this grant program.

Don't let debt from the disaster be the reason your family goes homeless.

https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/hprp/hprp-requirements/

FAQ No. 106    

Date: 3-21-2019 Updated: 3-21-2019 Subject:

From: Derrick Speyrer
Date: October 29, 2018 at 11:59:28 AM CDT
To: jonathan
Subject: 119252, RESTORE / ELEVATION QUESTION

Jonathan-

After a complete review off the list that you submitted on 10/22, we have made a determination on what items are going to be eligible for elevation. Regardless of the height of the finished floor, the following costs would have been incurred and are all included in the 108/sf calculation with 20 % overhead and profit.

  • $980 Foundation Drawings
  • $376 Engineering/Stamp
  • $ Soil Test
  • $ Compaction Test
  • $ Permits
  • $400 Elevation Surveys
  • $400 Slab Survey
  • $8,000 Fill (red clay)
  • $750 Site Clear/First Grading
  • $150 Silt Fence

Elevated Platform for House

  • Total Lumber $29,756
  • Total Labor $14,546

Elevated Service Platform for Condenser

Elevated Service Platform for Main Breaker

Original Foundation Cost/ First Draw for Builder $41,220

Contractor Fee - 20%

The items listed below are considered to be an upgrade, per building code the slab items were not needed to elevate your home. Only thing needed were the footings to do a standard pier and beam home. You decided to build a home with two typical flooring systems (post tension slab and floor joist system).

  • $941.85 Form Setter
  • $1,360.45 Diggers
  • $1,255 Finishers
  • $250 Form Wrecking
  • $1,115.51 Lumber/Mesh/Visqueen
  • $2,457 Cables
  • $920 Pump Truck
  • $7,170 Concrete
  • $1,000 Rebar
  • $2,898 Plumbing in Foundation

Eligible items:

  • $9301 Concrete Columns (material & labor)

[Reminder:Please reframe from using vulgarity towards any employee of the program while you are on the phone or in person.]

Thanks

Derrick Speyrer
Construction Technical Advisor
225-412-5679
Derrick.Speyrer@restore-la.org

Research Resource:

  1. May 22 2018 10:09 AM Elevation Email linked ID 100 [EM]
  2. May 22 2018 12:14 PM Elevation Email Linked ID 102 [EM]
  3. May 22 2018 1:27:34 PM Elevation Email Linked ID 101 [EM]
  4. Oct. 29, 2018 11:59 AM Elevation Email Linked ID 104 [EM]
  5. Dec. 5 2018 2:40 PM Elevation Email Linked ID 103 [EM]
  6. Dec. 19 2018 3:32 PM Elevation Email Linked ID 105 [PWR]

FAQ No. 104    

Date: 3-17-2019 Updated: 3-17-2019 Subject:

Paul Roberts
Wed 12/19/2018 3:32 PM
Clara – Please see my responses below:

1. Is the subfloor, beam, joists and all fasteners associated with the construction of the flooring system included in the $108 for the reconstruction?

A: Yes.

2. Is the first 3 feet of elevation measured from the top of the old concrete slab as Mr. Todd Mann stated Dec. 10, 2018 at our meeting in the Mead office, or is it measured from ground level upwards 3 feet? When I say ground level I also mean "average grade" because my surveyor stated the ground changes less than 0.1 foot.

A: The Program is going to use an elevation certificate, such as attached, to determine which elevation height to use in the Program Elevation Allowance Table in an effort to establish the Elevation CAP. The calculation is based on lowest adjacent grade as noted in the FEMA Form 086-0-33 (7/15), or in your certificate of elevation dated 02.08.17, the elevation of natural grade at 40.7', up to the base flood elevation plus two feet totaling 46.2'. The difference of 5 ½ feet would establish an Elevation CAP in the 6.0' height category as noted in the Program Elevation Allowance Table based on the eligible square footage.

3. Our designer is using grade beams. Will the grade beam costs be eligible for reimbursement?

A: Yes, under the separate award for elevation. Under Solution 2 the Program is not dictating an Applicant's design. The Program is asking that the Applicant's licensed contractor advise in writing the costs for elevation, so that the Program can provide a separate award for elevation funding. These costs should represent any materials/labor from the top of the pier or pile down including materials/labor installed below grade that have been included on the construction drawings submitted to the local building official for a new construction building permit.

I hope this helps!

Thanks, Paul

Paul W. Roberts
225.831.2976
Paul.Roberts@restore-la.org

Restore LOGO

FAQ No. 105    

Date: 3-17-2019 Updated: 3-17-2019 Subject:

From: Derrick Speyrer
Date: December 5, 2018 at 2:40:10 PM CST
To: jonathan laurie
Subject: 119252, Elevation Costs

Jonathan-

I spoke with Paul regarding your elevation, we reviewed all costs you originally submitted. We are going to entertain all costs below your wood subfloor. We are needing you to get with contractor for costs per LF for the items listed below.

Grade Beams(Excavation/Rebar/Concrete/Labor etc)= 318 lf per plans

Columns (Blocks/Rebar/Concrete/Labor, etc)= 20 columns x 9 ft= 180 lf

Stairs(Lumber/Labor)= 2 sets @ 9 ft= 18lf

The labor and materials for the slab itself is not going to be entertained for elevation.

Derrick Speyrer

Construction Technical Advisor
225-412-5679
Derrick.Speyrer@restore-la.org

Research Resource:

  1. May 22 2018 10:09 AM Elevation Email linked ID 100
  2. May 22 2018 12:14 PM Elevation Email Linked ID 102
  3. May 22 2018 1:27:34 PM Elevation Email Linked ID 101
  4. Dec 5, 2018 2:40 PM Elevation Email Linked ID 103

FAQ No. 103    

Date: 3-17-2019 Updated: 3-17-2019 Subject:


From: jonathan [mailto:jonathan @gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 12:14 PM
To: Derrick Speyrer
Cc: Cameron Gober
Subject: Re: CAROLYN AVENUE - BUC - FEMA FORM

Okay. All liens have been taken care of and contract for mortgages is being worked on as I type this. Builder, Lumber & Framers are chomping at the bit to begin. I still plan on starting as soon as the mortgage documents are signed, even if closing hasn't been set. I feel that's a little risky, but that's what I'm planning on doing. Should I be concerned about this wait for the elevation numbers? This has been a question going back to our first meeting. Do you think they are close to an answer or is this possibly a delay that will require legislation and an inestimable amount of time?

Jonathan

FAQ No. 102    

Date: 3-17-2019 Updated: 3-17-2019 Subject:

From: Derrick Speyrer
Date: May 22, 2018 at 1:27:34 PM CDT
To: jonathan
Subject: RE: CAROLYN AVENUE - BUC - FEMA FORM

No reason to be concerned regarding the wait for the elevation numbers. Nothing that has been presented to you will change, we are just trying to get everyone's approval on the dollar amount that we presented regarding elevation. We are hoping this will be resolved in the next 30 days.

Derrick Speyrer
Construction Technical Advisor
225-412-5679
Derrick.Speyrer@restore-la.org

Research Resource:

  1. May 22 2018 10:09 AM Elevation Email linked ID 100
  2. May 22 2018 12:14 PM Elevation Email Linked ID 102
  3. May 22 2018 1:27:34 PM Elevation Email Linked ID 101
  4. Dec 5, 2018 2:40 PM Elevation Email Linked ID 103

FAQ No. 101    

Date: 3-17-2019 Updated: 3-17-2019 Subject:

On May 22, 2018, at 10:09 AM, Derrick Speyrer wrote:

Mr. Jonathan-

I see you have accepted your grant and have finally moved to contractor selection. I have all the proper documentation that is needed at this time for the program. We are stilling waiting on an approval for elevation pricing so we can add to your grant award before we move your file to closing. I will keep you updated, if you need anything please let me know.

Thanks

Derrick Speyrer
Construction Technical Advisor
225-412-5679
Derrick.Speyrer@restore-la.org

Research Resource:

  1. May 22 2018 10:09 AM Elevation Email linked ID 100
  2. May 22 2018 12:14 PM Elevation Email Linked ID 102
  3. May 22 2018 1:27:34 PM Elevation Email Linked ID 101
  4. Dec 5, 2018 2:40 PM Elevation Email Linked ID 103

FAQ No. 100    

Date: 3-17-2019 Updated: 3-17-2019 Subject:

To contest any Substantially Damaged (SD) classification based on FEMA Verified Loss (FVL) or your local municipality do the following.

  1. Have a contractor write you a quote for repairs that are less than 50% of the fair market value pre-disaster.
  2. Provide a recent appraisal of the value of the home that puts repairs below 50%. If your appraisal is not high enough have a realtor offer a market value pre-disaster in writing.

Take this information to you city / parish / county planning and zoning office and they will waive your Substantially Damaged classification and issue you a repair permit.

On a final note, if you learn about HUD CDBG-DR Grants and have a substantially damaged home you may qualify for a grant that may fully fund the elevation and reconstruction of your home. This is important for you to determine now before you ask to cancel your SD classification. (Note: If you are in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) your flood insurance will go up if you don't elevate above your last major flood stage, some here that elevated are paying $350 per year while others are over $5000 per year.)

We have some information on this and our group Restore La Program Info Exchange has several members that waived the SD and several that are using the SD FVL to reconstruct a new home.

We have online information here, look up under FEMA and OCD-DRU for more information. PM me if you need specific details.

I have some information about NC and FL recovery because of the contractor here in Louisiana. If you need to put together a group specific for your area I would suggest you do and share your experiences. Your state, FEMA, OCD, HUD CDBG-DR will offer you little information. Talk to those that know. Read our Task Force meeting notes.

Good Luck! Keep the Faith and reach out to others like you are doing here at Facebook Group Stop FEMA now !!!

https://www.truckandtools.com/disaster/default.asp

FAQ No. 99    

Date: 3-17-2019 Updated: 3-17-2019 Subject:

Q: What is the Louisiana Open Meetings Law?
How does violating this law hurt your household with your disaster recovery?

A: The Open Meetings Law, found in R.S. 42:12 – 42:28, regulates meetings of public bodies.

The Open Meetings Law is meant to ensure that decisions by the government are made in an open forum. The Open Meetings Law operates in conjunction with Louisiana's Public Records Law to insure compliance with Article XII, Section 3 of the Louisiana Constitution's mandate that "No person shall be denied the right to observe the deliberations of public bodies and examine public documents, except in cases established by law." The Open Meetings Law is designed to ensure state integrity and to increase the public's trust and awareness of its governing officials.

Q: To whom does the Open Meetings Law apply? R.S. 42:14 R.S. 42:17

A: Louisiana's Open Meetings Law applies to the meetings of any "public body" unless an express provision in R.S. 42:16, R.S. 42:17, or R.S. 42:18 allows the meeting to be closed.

Q: What is a public body? R.S. 42:13

A: A "public body" is a village, town, and city governing authority; parish governing authority; boards, such as school, port, or levee boards; any other state, parish, municipal, or special district boards, commissions, or authorities, as well as any of their political subdivisions if the body possesses policy making, advisory, or administrative functions. Any committee or subcommittee of any of these bodies is also a public body.

Specifically, any municipal government, state agency, or political subdivision that has a policy making, administrative, or advisory function is subject to the Open Meetings Law. The law also applies to any official committee of the public body that has been delegated any of these functions by the public body, or any unofficial committee or gathering of the body that consists of a quorum of the body.

AG Op. 10-0155 cites the LA Supreme Court's four factor test for determining an entity's status as public or private: (1) whether the entity was created by the legislature, (2) whether its powers were specifically defined by the legislature, (3) whether the property of the entity belongs to the public, and (4) whether the entity's functions are exclusively of a public character and performed solely for the public benefit [State v. Smith, 357 So.2d 505 (La.1978)]. For a court to determine that an entity is public, all four factors must be present.

Q: How should the Open Meetings Law be interpreted?

According to R.S. 42:12(A), the Open Meetings Law should be construed liberally. This means that if there is a question as to interpretation of a provision the entity should provide as much access/openness as possible. The Open Meetings Law operates with a general premise that all meetings of public bodies should be open to the public. The burden, therefore, is on the individual seeking to engage in closed meetings to prove that an exception applies allowing the closing of the meeting.

Q: What is a meeting?

A meeting is a convening of a quorum of a public body to deliberate or act on a matter that the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power over. A meeting is also a convening of a quorum of a public body by the public body or a public official to receive information regarding a matter that the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power over.

The Open Meetings Law does not apply to chance meetings or social gatherings of members of a public body at which there is no vote or other action taken, including formal or informal polling of the members.

If a gathering consists of a quorum of the body or a meeting of a committee of the body to conduct any business of the body, the gathering should be presumed to be a meeting and, thus, subject to the requirements of the Open Meetings Law.

Q: What is a Quorum? R.S. 42:13(A)(3)

The default definition of a quorum is a simple majority of the total membership of a public body. For example, for town council that has five (5) aldermen, three (3) members would constitute a quorum necessary to conduct business at a meeting. This default definition applies only in the absence of a statutorily defined quorum for the public body, which may be a greater or lesser percentage of the body. The Attorney General (AG) has stated in AG Op. No. 00-0144 that a public body cannot in its by-laws define a quorum as less than a majority of the total members. Such a by-law definition would abrogate the clearly stated definition in R.S. 42:13(A)(3). Absent a statutorily defined quorum for the body, the body's quorum must be a simple majority.

Vacant positions must be counted in determining a quorum and will not reduce the number of members required to be present to conduct business. AG. Op. No. 15-0172.

No official action may be undertaken by the body in the absence of a quorum of the body. A prohibited action, for example, could include debate on an item in the absence of a quorum, coupled with a vote without debate on the item in an open meeting. Members of the body, however, may engage in informal discussion of any matter in the absence of a quorum.

Q: What are the requirements of an Open Meeting? R.S. 42:1442:23

Meetings of public bodies are required to:

  • have notice of the meeting at least 24 hours before the meeting via placement of a copy of the notice at the place of the meeting or at the body's official office;
  • allow for some means of public comment; R.S. 42:14(D) requires each public body (except school boards) conducting a meeting that is subject to the notice requirement of R.S. 42:19(A), to allow a public comment period prior to action on an agenda item upon which a vote is to be taken.* The governing body may adopt reasonable rules and restrictions regarding this comment period;
  • allow for recording of the meeting by the audience;
  • record minutes of the proceedings; and
  • have "open" meetings – that is, observable to the public with an opportunity for public participation. Public bodies may not close their meetings to the public absent narrowly defined exceptions.

A copy of the Open Meetings Law must also be posted at the location of the meeting.

*School boards are required to allow public comment before taking any vote. The comment period shall be for each agenda item and shall precede each agenda item. R.S . 42:15(A).

Q: Is the public allowed to participate in Open Meetings? R.S. 42:14 - 42:18

A: Yes.

  • The legal purpose of open meetings is to allow individuals to observe and participate in the deliberations of public bodies. Meetings of public bodies must be open to the public unless closed pursuant to a statutory exception, such as set forth in R.S. 42:1642:18, which authorizes closed executive sessions. Public bodies must provide an opportunity for public comment prior to action on the agenda item upon which a vote is to be taken. The governing body may adopt reasonable rules and restrictions regarding the comment period.
  • R.S. 42:14, requires each public body, except school boards, conducting a meeting that is subject to the notice requirement of R.S. 42:19(A), to allow a public comment period prior to action on an agenda item upon which a vote is to be taken.
  • A similar obligation is imposed for school boards, except that public comment must occur prior to taking any vote and must occur before each topic and not at the beginning of the meeting. R.S. 42:15.

Q: What are the procedures to add to or delete items from an agenda? R.S. 42:19

Public bodies may adopt procedures for governing their meetings and providing how members may place items on the agenda, provided that such procedures comply with the timelines set forth in the notice provisions of the Open Meetings Law and applicable statutory or charter provisions for the introduction and passage of instruments (i.e. ordinances and resolutions).

To add items to an agenda at the meeting itself, the Open Meetings Law requires unanimous approval of the members present to add an item to the agenda. In no case may a public body, by ordinance, charter provision or policy, lessen this requirement to a majority vote. AG Op. No. 15-0122.

Any motion for a vote to add an item to the agenda shall include with reasonable specificity the subject matter of the additional agenda item and the purpose for adding the item to the agenda. Public comment on the motion must be allowed prior to any vote to add an item to the agenda.

R.S. 42:19, which sets forth the requirements for notice of meetings, states at (A)(1)(b)(ii) that the notice shall include the agenda. Furthermore, any matter proposed that is not on the agenda shall be identified with reasonable specificity in the motion to take up the matter not on the agenda, including the purpose for the addition to the agenda. The matter must also be entered into the minutes of the meeting. Prior to any vote by the public body on the motion to take up a matter not on the agenda, there must be an opportunity for public comment on the motion in accordance with R.S. 42:14 or 15. The public body shall not use its authority to take up a matter not on the agenda as a subterfuge to defeat the purposes of R.S. 42:12 through 23.

Unless required by ordinance, charter provision or adopted policy to the contrary, public entities may remove, table, or withdraw agenda items by a majority vote of those members present.


Research Resource:

FAQ No. 98    

Date: 3-16-2019 Updated: 3-16-2019 Subject:

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