Mandatory survey to distribute federal aid available

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A very important survey is now available to victims of the March and August floods.

Louisiana is set to receive $1.6 billion in flood recovery aid from the federal government, but now state leaders have to determine how to distribute that money. Some of the aid will be used to help renters, but the bulk of it, around 80 percent ($1.3 billion), will be used to help homeowners.

Those victims must fill out that survey.

"What they're going to be answering are things like how much damage did you have in your home, what is your address. They'll be asked do they live inside or outside of a flood plane," Julie Baxter Payer, the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Governor's Office, said.

After filling out the survey, homeowners will be divided into one of six phases based on their answers.

Phase one victims will fill out their applications first, as soon as May, while phase six victims will fill out their applications last.

"We do not have enough money right now to help all the homeowners that we want to help," Payer said. "So we're starting with homeowners that had major or severe damage, as defined by FEMA, and homeowners who did not have flood insurance on their home."

Payer says another reason they chose to do this survey before applications are handed out is because federal guidelines say some homeowners will be subject to an environmental review. They want to identify those homeowners as soon as possible, and try to take care of that review before starting the application process.

"It's in compliance with HUD rules," Payer said. "It looks at things like, are the rebuilding activities on the home going to change traffic patterns, it looks at certain relics that might be in the area that we have to make sure that we're not disturbing."

The applications are not filled out on a first-come, first-serve basis and the governor's office has not set a deadline for filling it out.

But any homeowner that wants aid must complete it, which Payer says takes about fifteen minutes.

Homeowners can fill out the survey online here or by phone at 1-866-735-2001.

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