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Irma Hits Tampa But Mayor Buckhorn Says It Could Have Been Worse

BATON ROUGE, La. – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has agreed to extend by one year the eligible reimbursement period for the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program.

The extension gives participants more time to make reimbursable repairs before they apply to the Restore Louisiana program. It also prevents the need for homeowners to stop work, an issue that often hampers recovery programs after major disasters. With the extension, homeowners in the Restore Louisiana program can be reimbursed for eligible repair work that takes place before Sept. 8, 2018.

“We requested a deadline extension to make sure homeowners who are still working on their homes are able to take part in the assistance program,” said Pat Forbes, executive director of the Louisiana Office of Community Development. “It’s been five months since we actually got access to the federal money, and the Restore Louisiana program is working toward reaching full operational capacity in the wake of unprecedented damage. It wouldn’t be fair if someone couldn’t get reimbursed for repairs that are made while they’re waiting to be served. We also don’t want homeowners to stop repairs.”

In HUD’s approval letter, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Grants Programs Stanley Gimont said the agency granted the request “based on the critical role of these programs in providing housing and economic recovery assistance to storm victims.”

HUD administers the $1.6 billion in federal appropriations Louisiana received for recovery from the 2016 floods, which impacted more than 193,000 residents statewide.

As of early September: 

  • More than 43,500 homeowners completed the flood-damage survey, which is the required first step of the Restore Louisiana program
  • Nearly 36,000 homeowners are in the six-phase program
  • More than 11,600 homeowners have been invited to complete an application for the first three phases, about 7,000 of whom have submitted one
  • More than 23,000 environmental reviews have been completed
  • Nearly 600 grants have been made, totaling nearly $17 million

Eligible homeowners can hire their own contractor for repair work or choose one through Restore Louisiana. They can also get reimbursed for repairs that are already completed before they applied to the program.