BATON ROUGE, La. — Community members, volunteers and all levels of government continue developing solutions to move recovery forward following the severe storms and floods that occurred March 8 through April 8.
The collaboration includes neighbors, friends and family helping one another, identifying places to mobilize volunteers, and providing resources so disaster survivors can move back home. Governments are also collaborating to make communities better, stronger and safer so they will have enhanced protection from future disasters.
Here are some of the ways survivors, communities, volunteers and all levels of government have pulled together to address recovery challenges in the 90 days since the March 13 presidential disaster declaration.
Nearly 40,000 survivors applied for help under the Individual Assistance (IA) program in the 36 eligible parishes during the 90 day registration period. The registration period has closed but help remains just a phone call away. By calling the FEMA helpline you can:
- Ask questions about FEMA determination letters.
- Learn how to appeal FEMA’s determination. All applicants have the right to appeal.
- Inquire about the status of a registration.
- Provide change of address, telephone and bank account numbers and insurance information to avoid disaster assistance processing delays.
- Receive information about FEMA home inspections.
- Get other questions answered about federal disaster assistance.
Call the helpline at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585. Those who use 711/VRS can call 800-621-3362. Lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. Llame a la línea de ayuda 800-621-3362 ó (TTY) 800-462-7585. Aquellos que usan 711 o el Servicio de Retransmisión de Video (VRS) pueden llamar al 800-621-3362. Las líneas telefónicas operan de 7:00 a.m. a 10:00 p.m. siete días a la semana hasta nuevo aviso.
To date, survivors have received nearly $380 million in federal disaster assistance through a variety of sources.
- Approximately $69 million in grants has been approved for a place to stay for homeowners and renters whose residences were uninhabitable and to make essential repairs for homes to be safe, sanitary and secure.
- About $19 million in grants has gone to homeowners and renters to repair and replace certain household items and for burial, medical and dental expenses.
- Homeowners, renters and businesses have received more than $95 million in low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration to repair, rebuild and replace damaged property and contents. Disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other sources.
- National Flood Insurance Program policyholders have received approximately $196 million in claims to repair and rebuild flood-damaged property.
Moving back home marks significant recovery progress for survivors and their communities. Many survivors have successfully taken this step because of the volunteers from Louisiana and across the country who have donated their time and skills.
Voluntary, faith and community-based groups are coordinating with their local, state and federal recovery partners to identify survivors in need and ensure resources are there to help. This coordination has resulted in mucking out properties, making repairs and donating essential items like furniture and appliances so survivors can get back home.
If you want to donate your time and skills you can contact Volunteer Louisiana online at www.volunteerlouisiana.gov or email email@example.com and be put in touch with a voluntary group in need. Volunteer Louisiana is a state-run organization.
Local, parish and state government infrastructure and certain private nonprofit organizations in 37 parishes are progressing in their recovery with the help of FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program. So far the program has obligated approximately $2.3 million.
The program is relieving burdens on local governments and the state by reimbursing 75 percent of eligible costs to restore essential services like roads, bridges, utilities, schools and hospitals. Many services will be restored more resilient than they were before the disaster.
The program also assists with removing the debris that blemishes communities. Many repair and rebuilding projects have been able to start on properties of towns and parishes because disaster-related clutter has been cleared.
Disaster recovery officials have interacted with survivors in several different ways and many remain on the ground in Louisiana to assist with recovery.
- Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and FEMA specialists have held 14 applicant briefings to provide a general overview of the Public Assistance program to local leaders.
- State and federal Public Assistance specialists have held more than 250 kickoff meetings to discuss with parish representatives and certain nonprofits what projects may be available and to answer questions.
- FEMA specialists have attended approximately 60 community organization events in Louisiana to discuss and answer questions about federal disaster assistance.
- Nearly 21,000 survivors visited 44 disaster recovery centers (DRCs) where they met face to face with federal, state, local and volunteer representatives. The first centers opened less than a week after the presidential disaster declaration. The last ones closed June 10.
- More than 35,000 FEMA housing inspections have been completed.
- More than 70,000 survivors spoke with FEMA disaster survivor assistance specialists. These are FEMA staff who canvass affected communities to encourage survivors to register for help, provide recovery information and listen to their concerns and resulted in more than 4,000 field registrations for federal disaster assistance.
- Free consultations on building hazard-resistant homes were given to nearly 7,000 survivors at DRCs and more than 5,000 at Louisiana home improvements stores.
A team of state and federal disaster recovery specialists are identifying additional funding sources and strategies to restore, redevelop, revitalize and better prepare affected communities. They are working with local and parish governments, community leaders and the private sector to overcome long-term recovery challenges by pooling resources, providing technical assistance and identifying recovery funding sources.
Recovery partners continue coordinating to get survivors back home, advance the recovery of affected communities and make Louisiana more resilient.