FEMA Housing Program Changes Underway, Deadline Extended through May 15

 

BATON ROUGE, La. – At the request of the state, FEMA is providing about 1,100 survivors of the August 2016 flood with additional time to remain in agency-provided housing as they complete the final steps of their recovery.

The extension of the temporary program may allow occupants to complete their housing plan up until May 15. Also in agreement with the state, occupants are charged $50 per month in rent, far below fair market rates that run as high as $1,000 per month for comparable properties.

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FEMA’s housing program eligibility – and continued occupancy – is determined on a monthly basis for homeowners and on a bi-weekly basis for renters. To remain eligible, occupants must show they are making continuing progress on their permanent housing plan.

At the peak of the program, there were about 4,500 eligible households licensed into FEMA-provided mobile homes, placed across 16 parishes.  Less than one-third remain.

Local, state and federal partners are stepping up efforts ahead of the deadline to help Louisiana flood survivors get back home.

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FEMA caseworkers continue to meet regularly with mobile home occupants to support the hard work it takes to get back into permanent housing. They routinely guide occupants to available resources and advise them on program requirements, deadlines and more so there are no surprises.

Many homeowners are actively participating in the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program. To date, RestoreLA has offered more than 6,900 homeowners $192 million for their rebuilding efforts. Information on the program is available at www.restore.la.gov.

FEMA officials urged occupants to complete or follow through on any requests they made ahead of the February deadline to have their housing unit’s Fair Market Rent estimate reduced—well ahead of the new deadline.

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Last month Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the creation of a Rehousing Panel, led by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, which is working with FEMA to develop solutions to move housing program occupants into permanent housing.  

Panel members include: GOHSEP, FEMA, Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program, the Louisiana Housing Corporation, Louisiana Department of Health, Louisiana Lieutenant Governor’s Office, Louisiana Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster and volunteer agencies including Louisiana United Methodist Conference. The panel is charged with resolving the long-term housing solutions for each remaining household.

In a related announcement, recovery officials noted several Louisiana communities passed temporary zoning exemptions to permit FEMA mobile homes on private property.  Many were set to expire on the February deadline.  Occupants are encouraged to check with their local officials to make sure they are not now in violation of local zoning ordinance.

 

 

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