Sept. 23, 2011
BATON ROUGE, La. — The state of Louisiana’s Office of Community Development - Disaster Recovery Unit has awarded more than $2.9 million in disaster recovery money for a housing damage recovery program in the City of Lake Charles, allowing city officials to access federal Community Development Block Grant funds needed to implement the project.
The $2,907,542 in CDBG funding will be used to create two homeowner-recovery tracks in Lake Charles: a $1.9 million Incentive Program, which targets homeowners who had flood damage but did not have flood insurance; and a $725,000 Compensation Program that targets homeowners who had flood damage and also had flood insurance.
The City of Lake Charles will operate the two housing award programs, which are designed to support and complement each other with modest grants to affected homeowners. Together the programs will strengthen and sustain the city, particularly the area impacted by Hurricane Ike, helping ensure that the current population remains stable.
OCD-DRU Executive Director Pat Forbes said, “The Lake Charles neighborhoods that were damaged by Hurricane Ike must remain populated and vibrant to achieve a full recovery. In the face of uncompensated losses, the potential that former residents will stay away and others will leave is real. These incentive and compensation grants will allow the city to make a financial investment in the continued viability of these neighborhoods.”
”The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury is committed to seeing our residents recover from recent disasters. We look forward to seeing the positive impact the City of Lake Charles’ Housing Compensation Program will have in assisting citizens with uncompensated residential losses,” said Guy Brame, president of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury.
Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach said, “The City of Lake Charles is very pleased to see the funding for this housing damage recovery program become available for affected homeowners in our city. Hurricane Ike was a significant flooding event in Lake Charles, and this program will help our citizens recover from their losses and be an incentive for them to remain within our city.”
The Incentive Program for eligible, uninsured homeowners who suffered damages from Hurricane Ike will provide two tiers of awards: a greater award of approximately $9,000 to $18,000 for homeowners who reoccupy or resettle within the greatest impact zone and maintain flood insurance on the home; and a lesser award of approximately $4,500 to $9,000 for homeowners who reoccupy or resettle outside the greatest impact zone but still within the city. In return, the homeowner must make a three-year commitment to either remain in the house or resettle as a homeowner within the city.
The incentive awards will not be based on individualized losses, but instead will be based on standardized award levels designed to provide an appropriate incentive for homeowners to remain in the city.
The actual award amounts will be determined based on the number of eligible applicants, which will be divided into the total incentive program allocation.
The Compensation Program will provide financial assistance to homeowners who had federal flood insurance, but still suffered uncompensated losses from Hurricane Ike. The city will use a simple formula to calculate the maximum obtainable award: the amount of documented damage minus the total amount of compensation received from other programs.
The incentive and the compensation awards are expected to serve households of all income levels. These programs are focused on the recovery of the impacted area, rather than reshaping or redistributing resources within the community. Nonetheless, the city will ensure that eligible, low-to-moderate income families receive preference for available funding.
Applications for both programs are available on the city’s Web site at http://www.cityoflakecharles.com/egov/docs/1316786451822.htm; at City Hall; and at other municipal locations.
The funding is part of more than $1 billion in disaster recovery Community Development Block Grant money received by the state from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for damages inflicted by Gustav and Ike.
In total, the OCD-DRU has allocated $17,707,489 in Gustav-Ike disaster recovery funding to Calcasieu Parish.
The Disaster Recovery Unit within the Office of Community Development is dedicated to helping Louisiana's citizens recover from hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. As the state's central point for hurricane recovery, the OCD-DRU manages the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history, working closely with local, state and federal partners to ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before.