Ida was big and strong and did a lot of damage from here north. There was a of of federal money for restitution and now with the next season her where to spend it. They are looking for suggestions.
A new hurricane season has begun, but parts of the state are still rebuilding from last year. More help will soon be on the way. State officials called for public input Wednesday on a plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in federal money on housing and other needs following Hurricane Ida’s destruction in 2021. The state is inviting public comment until June 30, and details can be found at restore.la.gov. Much of the roughly $1.27 billion in federal money for Ida recovery will address severe housing needs in hard-hit areas. Nearly 8,000 families have been living out of trailers provided by the state and FEMA after Ida, one of the most powerful storms to ever make landfall in Louisiana, and blue roof tarps can still be seen from New Orleans to communities far down Bayou Lafourche. The money is intended to address long-term recovery and comes on top of what FEMA spends to address immediate needs following storms. Long-term recovery dollars typically fall under three main categories: housing, infrastructure and economic revitalization. “This funding will let us open recovery programs for Hurricane Ida and expand our recovery programs for Laura and Delta,” said Pat Forbes, who heads the state’s Office of Community Development, which is overseeing the aid programs. “We are grateful to Governor Edwards, our congressional delegation and President Biden for their tireless work and commitment in getting us the funding we need to recover from these storms.”nola.com
Housing will get most of the funding as there are still many homes that have not gotten fixed.
Chris Pulaski, planning director for Terrebonne Parish, which saw heavy damage from Ida, said housing will receive “the lion’s share” of the money in addition to needs such as infrastructure damage. “We have not dealt with a storm recovery to this scale in quite some time, and for a lot of people in parish government this is the first time that we’re dealing with something at this scale,” he said. In Terrebonne alone, families are living in nearly 3,500 temporary housing units, mainly mobile homes and travel trailers, he said.
This funding may seem slow but remember we still remember the sloiwness of funding for Laura and others.
While the process may seem slow some nine months after Ida hit, it has actually moved faster than certain other federal long-term recovery programs, particularly for southwest Louisiana following hurricanes Laura and Delta in 2020. The Ida money is expected to begin to flow around August, after the federal government approves the state’s spending plan, Forbes said. Congress approved the aid back in September as part of a larger bill that included nationwide disaster relief. It was then up to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to allocate those funds according to formulas that account for unmet disaster needs. HUD did so in March, allocating $1.27 billion for needs related to Ida and flooding in 2021 that hit parts of Baton Rouge and southwest Louisiana. At the same time, it added $450 million to the aid already allocated for Laura and Delta, bringing the total for those storms to $1.05 billion. The state was required to wait to move ahead with its public comment period until HUD published the rules for spending the money, which it has now done.
The State is seeking more funding but that depends on the Governor and the Congress.
State officials have been advocating for further long-term recovery dollars related to Ida, which would require approval from Congress. Gov. John Bel Edwards has previously estimated unmet housing needs related to that storm at more than $2.5 billion, meaning around double what has been allocated so far. The state says nearly 184,000 homes were damaged in the 2021 storms, the vast majority by Ida. In its plans for the money, it is proposing spending nearly 70% of the $1.27 billion on housing, followed by nearly 20% on infrastructure and close to 10% on economic revitalization. “We still have every expectation of getting another appropriation and allocation for Ida,” Forbes said. In addition to opening a public comment period, the state will hold a series of public hearings on its plans for the money beginning on June 20. Homeowners are also encouraged to fill out a survey at the restore.la.gov site to see if they qualify for aid.
If you have a claim, fill out the form. Will it help? I don’t know but if you don’t…