Gov. John Bel Edwards announced today that the Louisiana Office of Community Development has opened the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program survey for homeowners impacted by Hurricanes Laura and Delta. This comes as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development just released the long-awaited Federal Register Notice, which establishes rules that govern disaster funding in Louisiana and several other states.
“With the release of the Federal Register Notice yesterday, and as we anticipate additional funds for the many storms that have impacted Louisiana over the past two years, we are taking steps to streamline the process for Louisiana residents—especially those in Southwest Louisiana impacted by Hurricanes Laura and Delta—who have waited so long for much-needed CDBG-DR funding,” Gov. Edwards said. “Launching the initial program survey now, well before the funds are available to us, allows homeowners to take the first step toward registering for program assistance, so we can begin implementing programs immediately upon receiving access to the federal funds for disaster recovery programs. We urge all homeowners impacted by Hurricanes Laura and Delta—and by other 2020 and 2021 disasters—including Hurricane Ida—to complete the program survey today.”
HUD allocated $600 million in CDBG-DR funds to Louisiana, dedicated to recovery efforts for Hurricanes Laura and Delta. The Federal Register Notice, released Jan. 31, provides rules and regulations around how the state must spend its allocated funding for disaster programming and in anticipation of this step, the state has developed a draft action plan detailing how it intends to use the allocated funds and will soon publish the plan for public comment and input. Information gathered from the Restore Louisiana survey will further inform program design and serve as the first step in providing assistance to eligible homeowners.
Restore Louisiana Program Survey
Although this funding is not available in Louisiana yet, the program is launching the survey to better understand the unmet needs of impacted homeowners prior to the full program launch. Homeowners who sustained FEMA-determined major/severe damage from Hurricanes Laura and Delta are encouraged to complete a survey.
Louisiana homeowners can complete the survey on any mobile device at restore.la.gov. They also can call 866.735.2001 for assistance.
This is not a first-come, first-served program. Louisiana homeowners have time to complete this survey. The survey should take less than 15 minutes and does not require documentation, although it is helpful for homeowners to have their FEMA registration number when completing the survey.
Qualified homeowners will be invited to submit a full application with further documentation when the official program launches, anticipated for late spring 2022. The state strongly discourages impacted homeowners from letting third parties help complete surveys for a fee. There is no charge to complete the survey, and residents should not give personal information to any third parties.
Homeowners who are not sure whether they sustained major/severe damage from Hurricanes Laura or Delta, or those who would like to appeal a previous FEMA determination on their damage level, should contact FEMA at 1.800.621.3362 or visit fema.gov/assistance/individual/after-applying/appeals.
HUD Federal Register Notice and Required Action Plan
In response to HUD’s release of the Federal Register Notice, the state must publish an action plan, detailing how it intends to use the allocated funding, for HUD approval before the state can access and distribute the funding. In an effort to access funds as soon as possible, the state has proactively drafted the action plan, conducted outreach in impacted communities and launched the Restore Louisiana program survey.
OCD is reviewing the rules and requirements established by the Federal Register Notice and will update the action plan to be released for public comment and HUD approval as soon as possible. The action plan will also seek approval for other recovery programs to address the deficit in affordable rental housing, as well as small business recovery programs.
Following HUD’s approval of the action plan, they will make the allocated funds available to the state, and OCD can begin providing funds to impacted residents through Restore Louisiana and additional programs.
For more information about Restore Louisiana, visit restore.la.gov.