Most of Louisiana’s $438M in disaster aid expected to be spent on housing assistance

Business Report

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration expects that most of the $438 million in Louisiana’s federal flood recovery aid will be spent on housing assistance for low- to moderate-income homeowners, The Associated Press reports.

Pat Forbes, the governor’s chief disaster recovery adviser, says those residents are the most vulnerable and unlikely to be able to rebuild without help. Forbes outlined the types of available housing programs to the flood recovery task force devising plans for spending the disaster block grant money.

No decisions were made on which programs the task force will support, however.

Louisiana can’t submit its proposal for the money until the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development publishes rules governing the aid. HUD also must sign off on the state’s spending plans.

Officials hope Congress will provide additional aid in December.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy first announced last week that Louisiana had received the bulk of the $500 million Congress allocated for disaster aid. HUD followed up with its own announcement this week.

Cassidy and other Louisiana officials have called the allocation a “down payment.” According to the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s preliminary estimates of the magnitude of the August flood, 41.5% of the homes in the nine-parish Baton Rouge region are located within areas that experienced flooding.

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