by: Office of Public Information Staff
Earlier this month, the Louisiana House and Senate approved the Louisiana Recovery Authority's (LRA) plan to spend federal recovery dollars. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has already allocated $438 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funds to Louisiana for recovery after Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, and the state expects to receive up to $800 million in total.
According to the approved plan, about one-fourth of the monies would be handled at the state level, and the remainder would be divided among affected parishes according to the levels of damage sustained using HUD data.
State-level projects for the funds would focus on providing for affordable rental housing, agriculture and fisheries recovery, and coastal restoration and flood protection.
Also this month, HUD rejected two proposed changes to the way the state allocates money through The Road Home program. The LRA had proposed that program participants be paid up to $7,500 for "individual mitigation measures"—home improvements such as storm shutters to protect rebuilt homes from future damage. HUD indicated that it would likely approve such a program as long as it still limited total awards to the current $150,000 cap.
The other rejected change would have used in all cases the highest appraised value of an applicant's home to calculate awards. The highest appraised value is already used in all appeal cases. HUD worried that this change could increase fraud.