East Baton Rouge maps road to recovery for flood-damaged homes

East Baton Rouge maps road to recovery for flood-damaged homes

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Some Baton Rouge homeowners are concerned they are falling behind in the rebuilding process because their properties have not yet been inspected by FEMA.

The worry comes after the City of Central posted a comprehensive list of properties that have already been assessed by FEMA.

The office of Justin Dupuy, a Baton Rouge City Building official, is perhaps one of the busiest in the parish. These days he and his team are flooded with permit applications.

"Generally, we are doing 10 of these assessments a year, not 60,000," Dupuy said.

FEMA has inspectors out assessing damaged homes and businesses. That data is dumped into a program called a Substantial Damage Estimator (SDE). It includes the property owners' names, addresses, how much water entered, and the percentage of the house that was damaged. Buildings that were 40 to 60 percent damaged may have to be elevated.

"Anyone who is in the special flood hazard areas, in an A or AE zones, those are the one who will be most impacted by these decisions if they are required to elevate," Dupuy said.

It is important to find that out before the rebuilding begins. Dupuy said, so far, FEMA inspectors have turned in that information on close to 23,000 houses in EBR. There are 62,000 still waiting. Dupuy said homeowners do not have to wait on FEMA to get a permit.

"We can do about the same assessment from our office with information from them. If [homeowners] would bring in their estimates from contractors, we can get pretty close to that assessment too," Dupuy said.

Dupuy said while FEMA will still do its inspections, ultimately the city-parish will have the final say in the permitting process.

The permitting office is located at 300 N. 10th St. in Baton Rouge. People can also call the office at (225) 389-3205.

Copyright 2016 WAFB. All rights reserved.