| HUD No. 06-052
May 9, 2006
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today announced he is approving a $368.4 million plan to help the state of Louisiana recover from the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The funding is part of $6.2 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) assistance Jackson allocated to Louisiana and will assist the state in meeting infrastructure needs, provide interest-free small business bridge loans, and lay the groundwork for the state's anticipated homeowner assistance program.
The Louisiana plan includes: $237.5 million to meet emergency state and local infrastructure needs; $95 million to establish a Louisiana Bridge Loan Program for certain qualified small businesses;and, $17.1 million to create a call center designed to help Louisiana's homeowners seeking assistance under the state's pending Road Home Housing Program.
This plan will go a long way toward rebuilding infrastructure, supporting struggling mom and pop businesses and helping homeowners who may have lost everything," said Jackson. As we move along Louisiana's road to recovery, HUD will work overtime to help rebuild healthy and vital communities that families can proudly call home."
Today Secretary Jackson delivered outstanding news to Louisiana with his approval of the first phase of our action plan for Louisiana's recovery," said Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. Approval of these much needed funds gives our people a renewed hope that our recovery is progressing and the road home is being paved."
In January, Jackson allocated $6.2 billion in emergency CDBG funding to Louisiana to support the state's long-term recovery efforts. The partial action plan" approved today includes several key elements, including:
Local Government Emergency Infrastructure ($95 million) - This program will assist parishes that have adopted the latest available base flood elevations from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and new statewide building standards. Offered on a first-come, first-serve basis, funding provided under this program will assist these parishes in matching FEMA assistance to fund their most pressing infrastructure repair/replacement projects.
State Building Infrastructure Program ($142.5 million) - Approximately 1,500 state buildings were damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, leaving Louisiana with $1.5 billion in uninsured losses. While FEMA will cover 90 percent of these losses, the state still faces a shortfall at a time when its tax base has been severely reduced. Due to the labor shortage needed to make needed repairs, Louisiana developed a framework that places emphasis on its highest priority projects.
Louisiana Bridge Loan Program ($95 million) - Louisiana estimates that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita affected 81,000 small businesses in the state. Loans provided through this program will offer up to $100,000 in temporary working capital to businesses located in 37 affected parishes. By guaranteeing loan funds provided by participating banks, this bridge loan program will offer six month, interest-free financing to qualifying small business owners who choose to remain in their affected areas.
Homeowner Repair, Rebuild and Restore Program ($17.1 million) - As the state of Louisiana continues to develop its Road Home Housing Program, it will need to develop a registration process and a method for managing case files for thousands of homeowners seeking housing assistance. This program will fund a call center, develop plans for Road Home Assistance Centers, and train adequate staff and counselors needed to implement the more comprehensive homeowner assistance program currently being developed by the state. HUD's review of the Road Home Housing Program will occur once Louisiana submits its final plan to the Department.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.