NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Three years after hurricanes Gustav and Ike first affected Louisiana, the Federal Emergency Management Agency continues to work closely with the state of Louisiana, providing approximately $1.2 billion across the agency's three program areas to help residents, local governments and nonprofits recover.
"With Gustav's landfall on Sept. 1, 2008, and Ike's landfall shortly after on Sept. 13, 2008, Louisiana endured back-to-back damages from two devastating hurricanes. FEMA's local recovery office is still committed to helping the state's citizens and communities rebuild from the destruction brought on by these two storms," said FEMA Louisiana Recovery Office Acting Executive Director Joseph Threat.
In response to hurricanes Gustav and Ike, approximately $280 million in FEMA's Individuals and Households Program funding has been provided for 83,494 individuals and families in Louisiana, including $220 million in housing assistance for rent, repairs and replacement housing, and $60 million in other needs assistance for such things as furniture, clothing and replacement vehicles.
At the height of the program, approximately 639 temporary housing units (travel trailers and mobile homes) were in service. Currently, 627 households have moved on to more permanent housing, and their units have been deactivated. As of now, there are only 12 occupied temporary housing units in Louisiana.
Additionally, in support of helping Louisiana's communities rebuild, more than $939.7 million in FEMA Public Assistance grants has been provided to date for Gustav and Ike projects. This funding reimburses the state, communities, tribal governments and certain nonprofit agencies for approved costs associated with emergency work as well as repairing or replacing eligible, disaster-damaged infrastructure and public facilities.
The fruition of these federal public assistance dollars can be seen in communities such as Grand Isle, where FEMA grants were provided to rebuild crucial roadways damaged by Gustav. Likewise, they can also been seen in communities such as Cameron Parish, where millions were provided to the local school board to assist with their rebuilding efforts from Hurricane Ike.
Lastly, through FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the agency aims to help prepare Louisiana for future disasters by providing grants to implement long-term solutions for preparedness and protection against property damage and loss of life. Specifically, following hurricanes Gustav and Ike, Louisiana was deemed eligible for $279 million in HMGP funding. So far, 36 projects have been approved for a total of $31.3 million in obligated HMGP funding.
When FEMA approves projects through its supplemental Public Assistance grant, the funds are made available to the Governor's Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness, who disburses them to the applicant for eligible work completed.
The Public Assistance program works with state and local officials to fund recovery measures and the rebuilding of government and certain private nonprofit organizations' buildings, as well as roads, bridges and water and sewer plants. In order for the process to be successful, federal, state and local partners coordinate to draw up project plans, fund these projects and oversee their completion.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.