Federal and state agencies, non-profit organizations continue helping survivors in their recovery
WASHINGTON — In the 30 days since Hurricane Ida struck Louisiana, disaster survivors have received more than $660 million in grants and $211 million in low-interest loans to survivors of the storm, as state and federal efforts remain focused on helping survivors and communities recover. Additional assistance such as blue roofs and emergency hotel assistance is helping provide shelter for thousands of families who are rebuilding their lives.
Recovery efforts for survivors include assistance for safe sheltering, rental assistance, home repairs and help with serious needs such as medical, childcare, moving and storage expenses.
Louisiana survivors are taking control of their own recovery by applying to FEMA, uploading documents, visiting disaster recovery centers and staying in touch to advise of changes to their information. FEMA deployed staff to support survivors before, during and after Hurricane Ida made landfall. At the height of the response, nearly 1,500 federal employees assisted with response efforts.
Assistance Funds Continue to Rise
- A significant effort has already been made to help Louisiana recover from Hurricane Ida. To date, nearly 500,000 individuals and households have been approved for more than $660 million in assistance.
- More than $223 million of this is for rental assistance, which survivors can use for security deposits, rent and the cost of essential utilities, such as gas and water.
- More than $111 million in assistance for survivors to repair their damaged dwelling. As inspections are completed this number will continue to rise.
- And $318 million for other needs assistance. This funding is intended for serious needs such as medical, funeral, childcare, moving and storage expenses or other essential items purchased, such as generators and chainsaws.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $211 million in low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters and businesses.
- The National Flood Insurance Program has paid nearly $77 million in claims to policyholders.
- For Louisiana survivors of Ida, Critical Needs Assistance eligibility was expanded. As a result, an additional 120,000 Hurricane Ida applicants have been approved for Critical Needs Assistance.
Families Utilize Assistance for Safe Sheltering
- FEMA is providing temporary housing assistance through the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program, which allows eligible survivors who are unable to live in their primary home to stay temporarily at a participating hotel or motel, which FEMA pays for directly.
- To date, more than 19,600 households have checked into participating hotels, and about 8,000 continue to utilize the program.
Federal Specialists in the Parishes
- FEMA’s Disaster Survivor Assistance teams are helping survivors register for assistance and providing answers to their questions. DSA personnel have met with more than 51,000 people and helped nearly 14,000 survivors apply for FEMA assistance.
- Currently, 16 disaster recovery centers are open. There have been nearly 8,000 visits to the centers, where survivors can talk face to face with recovery specialists about a wide range of assistance programs.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has installed more than 9,000 blue roofs, enabling families to live in their homes while permanent repairs are made.
- SBA has opened five business recovery centers to issue loan applications, answer questions about the disaster loan program, explain the application process and help businesses complete their applications.
- FEMA disability integration specialists are working with state and local community leaders to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to disaster assistance.
- The Louisiana Association of the Deaf and the Louisiana Commission for the Deaf hosted two events for deaf survivors affected by Hurricane Ida. Between the two events, one Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) and four FEMA American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters worked alongside one CDI and eight ASL interpreters from the surrounding communities to help provide assistance to over 250 deaf individuals. The community and FEMA interpreters assisted deaf survivors applying for FEMA assistance and checking the status of their applications. Survivors were also able to get damaged video phones replaced from Purple VRS.
Survivors Who Need Help Appealing a Decision
Hurricane Ida survivors planning to appeal a FEMA decision should keep the following helpful info in mind:
- Carefully read FEMA’s letter to understand what the agency is asking of you.
- You must include evidence to support your appeal request such as:
- Letters from your insurance company to support your case.
- A copy of a utility bill or driver’s license to show proof of occupancy.
- A copy of your mortgage or insurance documents to show proof you own your house.
Assistance Programs Help Communities Recover
- President Biden has extended the period of 100% federal funding for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, from 30 to 45 days. The federal share for all categories of Public Assistance, including direct federal assistance, has been increased to 90% of the total eligible costs.