BATON ROUGE, La. — Aided by more than $152.5 million in state and federal assistance, Louisianans are cleaning up and rebuilding their homes, businesses and communities following Hurricane Isaac, stated the Federal Emergency Management Agency in a news release.
FEMA reports tens of thousands of survivors have been in touch with the FEMA seeking help or information. Some have called FEMA’s helpline, others have met community relations specialists visiting neighborhoods and still others have visited one or more of the 32 Disaster Recovery Centers that have opened in 19 parishes.
The FEMA office in Morgan City closed Friday, stated a FEMA spokesman. There were 1,769 people registered at the office and $1,378,270 paid in housing assistance, he said. There was $128,295 paid for other claims, such as household contents.
For eligible survivors, FEMA has provided more than $92.6 million in assistance to make essential repairs to primary homes that are too damaged to live in. A portion of those funds have gone for other disaster-related expenses including medical, dental or personal property loss such as vehicles, clothing and household items. Other survivors have benefitted from disaster unemployment assistance, legal aid and temporary sheltering in hotels and motels.
The U.S. Small Business Administration, a partner in Louisiana’s recovery effort, has already approved more than $23 million in low-interest disaster loans to homeowners and business owners affected by the storm. These loans will finance significant repairs or rebuilding of hurricane-damaged homes and businesses, allowing neighborhoods and communities to bounce back from the storm.
Survivors who did not need or qualify for federal disaster assistance or who had additional needs have been referred to local voluntary agencies, partners in the whole community recovery effort. Volunteers from around the country and scores of local community- and faith-based organizations and other nonprofit groups are helping survivors. They have been working in the impacted communities since before the hurricane hit, and they will remain for months to come.
“Survivors are working hard to repair and rebuild after Hurricane Isaac,” said Mike Hall, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer. “With the whole community working alongside them, we’re already seeing positive signs of recovery.”
Additional funds, now totaling more than $36.7 million, are being awarded under the Public Assistance Grant Program for eligible state agencies, local and federally recognized tribal governments and certain private nonprofit organizations.
Below is a snapshot of the assistance dollars and some milestones reached during the past month.
To date, more than $152.5 million in federal assistance has been approved to aid eligible Louisianans and their communities.
More than $92.6 million in disaster aid has been approved for Louisianans through FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program, which helps eligible applicants with emergency home repairs; uninsured personal property losses; and medical, dental and funeral expenses caused by the disaster. It also helps cover other disaster-related expenses.
Nearly $78.9 million has been paid to 12,223 policyholders through the FEMA-administered National Flood Insurance Program.
FEMA has obligated more than $36.7 million to cover 75 percent of the costs incurred for removal of storm-related debris and for measures taken to protect people before, during and after the hurricane — including search and rescue, security forces, shelters and emergency care.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $23 million in low-interest disaster loans for 692 homeowners and business owners throughout the disaster area.
More than 190,500 Louisianans have registered for disaster assistance online at www.disasterassistance.gov or m.fema.gov on a smartphone. Survivors also are using FEMA’s toll-free registration line at 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711 Relay or Video Relay Services are calling 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
FEMA housing inspectors have completed more than 125,500 home inspections, an important first step in determining eligibility for housing assistance.
Nearly 20,000 storm survivors have visited FEMA’s Disaster Recovery Centers since Isaac struck last month. FEMA has opened 32 recovery centers since the Aug. 29 disaster declaration. For a list of open centers in Louisiana go online to www.fema.gov/disaster/4080.