Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that FEMA has agreed to his request to help ease the financial burden of flood survivors living in Temporary Housing Units (THUs). Beginning March 1, 2018 rent for the units will be reduced to $50.00 a month which will last through the new deadline of May 14, 2018 when the program is scheduled to end. However, the state intends to continue requesting extensions as needed.
“This is welcome news for our citizens who are still very much in the recovery process and who until today, were faced with the difficult choice of having to pay rent for their temporary housing and the mortgage on their flood damaged homes,” said Gov. Edwards. “I am grateful to FEMA officials for recognizing the needs of our people and for working with us to develop a solution. This is a substantial rent reduction that will remain in place until the program ends as long as survivors are making progress toward finding permanent housing.”
Last year, FEMA announced that it would begin charging survivors the market rental rate of nearly $1000.00. Gov. Edwards requested multiple waivers from FEMA.
“We appreciate the fact FEMA recognized the charging of fair market rent could cause additional hardship on many of our families,” said Jim Waskom, head of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP). “We are glad they agreed to reduce the rent for flood survivors, allowing families more time to complete their home repairs. We will continue working with survivors on a case by case basis to help them reach more permanent housing solutions.”
There are currently 1,713 households in the IHP program, out of which 1,533 are homeowners and 180 are renters. Many homeowners are actively participating in the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program, which is moving faster than any other housing recovery program in the country to help homeowners rebuild.
In addition, Gov. Edwards' Rehousing Panel, led by GOHSEP, has begun meeting and working with FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO), John Long, to develop solutions to move THU occupants into permanent housing.
Panel members include: GOHSEP, FEMA, Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program, the Louisiana Housing Corporation, Louisiana Department of Health, Louisiana Lieutenant Governor’s Office, Louisiana Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster and volunteer agencies including Louisiana United Methodist Conference. They are charged with resolving the long term housing solution on each of the remaining households in THUs.