Free money may be available to help repair flooded LA homes

Free money may be available to help repair flooded LA homes

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - If your home was damaged by floodwaters last year, you will soon be able to apply for home repair grants offered through the State of Louisiana.

The Restore Louisiana Task Force, in conjunction with the State's Office of Community Development, will soon be qualifying eligible property owners for grant assistance for eligible home repairs related to damage from the 2016 floods.  

Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller said this application process is strictly through the State. "This is not FEMA funding, but money that originates with federal HUD disaster recovery programs given to the State of Louisiana," 

To apply, flood victims must first complete a short online survey, which will be available starting in April.

The survey is important for several reasons. Funding for this initial round of assistance is very limited, and federal rules require that priority be given to homeowners with the most urgent needs. It's possible, therefore, that if you qualify, assistance will come in later phases of the program.

In addition, once homeowners apply for assistance, they're subject to other federal rules that could require extra time. The survey, along with program phases will minimize delays and help ensure assistance is distributed as efficiently as possible.

The program has several options that allow qualified homeowners to use their own contractor or one hired through the program. Keep in mind that in either case, the program is designed to reimburse homeowners or contractors for the money spent on repairs. In other words, repair work must be performed before you receive money through the program.

Homeowners (including mobile homes and rental homes) that are interested in this financial help should sign up for email and application notifications at the website. Miller advises that if you do not have an email address, then try to use someone in your family's email address so you can receive these notifications from the State. 

Miller said the Restore Louisiana Task Force is making these grants available for households that are deemed eligible, regardless of whether they had flood insurance at the time of the 2016 flooding.  However, If you're already received money through FEMA, SBA, flood insurance or private insurance, it may impact the amount of funding for which you qualify through the assistance program. But it does not automatically disqualify you from state assistance. Federal law does not allow what is known as DOB, or duplication of benefits. Individuals, businesses and other entities cannot receive federal funds for loss of property if they received financial assistance from another program, insurance claim or other source.

Eligible homeowners will be prioritized in phases listed in Action Plans and Amendments. You may be eligible for assistance under phase one of the program if you meet all of the following criteria:

Your family is low-to-moderate income.

You did not have flood insurance at the time of the storm

You experienced more than one foot of flooding

You are located outside the special flood hazard area

You or your co-applicant is at least 62 years old OR you had a person with disabilities living in your home at the time of the flooding.

Here are the criteria for the program:

You were an owner-occupant at the time of the flood

The address was the applicant's primary residence at the time of the flood

The address is located in one of the FEMA Individual Assistance disaster-declared parishes

There was major or severe damages (at least 1 foot of water) as a result of the flood

The home did not have structural coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program or private flood insurance at the time of the flood

Eligible structures include, but are not exclusive to, single-family or duplex homes and mobile, manufactured and modular homes.

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