Baton Rouge, LA -- The first emergency housing assistance checks, which total $2,762,190, have been issued to Louisiana storm applicants by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), federal and state officials announced today.
Most of the payments were sent electronically to the bank accounts of approved applicants, said Federal Coordinating Officer Carlos Mitchell, the FEMA official who oversees administration of all federal programs in storm damaged parishes.
Checks now are sent directly to a person's bank account electronically because it is so much faster than using routine mail. This also makes disaster funds available to those in need far more quickly.
"This is an important early step in the recovery process," Mitchell said, "because it serves the purpose of helping meet pressing needs, just as the speedy response reflects our commitment to provide disaster assistance without delay."
"Overcoming emergency needs, especially those directly concerning housing and safe shelter, is a top priority for us," said State Coordinating Officer Art Jones. "Helping get people out of harm's way and into safe and sanitary living quarters is of vital interest to us"
The disaster housing assistance program provides funds to homeowners to make minor but necessary repairs as a result of disaster-related damages, and to make homes habitable, safe and secure.
Rental assistance may also be provided to eligible homeowners and renters while their primary residences are being repaired, or while other permanent housing arrangements are being made.