The US Department of Housing and Urban Development has approved the state’s plan for spending the first $438 million approved for Louisiana flood recovery. The governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff Julie Baxter Payer says the next step is for HUD to do grant agreements and open a line of credit for the state.

“We’re talking about likely the application process opening up, the intake of applications from homeowners who would like to apply for assistance, at the end of March and possibly as soon as April begin to see construction going on,” Payer said.

Payer says some of this assistance will go to small business owners who were impacted. But she says most of it will help low income families who are elderly or disabled and did not have flood insurance.

“Eighty-percent of it goes to homeowner assistance to rebuild, and then we also have some money set aside for renters. One in four people who were impacted by the flood were renters,” Payer said.

Payer says an additional $1.2 billion was approved by Congress in December that will go to other affected homeowners. She says they gathered public input on the plan for allocating that round of federal aid and are ready to submit the plan to HUD for approval.

“That wraps up today. We will incorporate all the public comments and submit it next week to the federal government, and we hope that we should receive the approval by HUD in far fewer than the 60 days that are allowed,” Payer said.

The governor is requesting an additional $2 billion in flood assistance, and there are reports of a meeting between John Bel Edwards and President Donald Trump on February 24th.

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