(WAFB) - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has given to go ahead to the State of Louisiana to start drawing funds from the $1.6 billion allocated to the state for flood recovery. The move comes the same day the Louisiana Flood Recovery Task Force released an online survey to determine who is eligible for the federal funds.
Starlotte Legier filled out the survey Monday afternoon, answering questions to sum up the past eight months of her progress. She is one of about 5,700 Louisianans who took the survey the first day it was released. The survey has been advertised to only take about 15 minutes and is the first step in figuring out who will be eligible for a portion of the money to help people rebuild.
Julie Baxter Payer, deputy chief of staff for the governor's office says the questions are simple. "They are things like how much damage did you have, what's your income, or if you have flood insurance," said Payer.
Payer says the survey is designed to provide a snapshot of where homeowners are on the road to recovery, but also show Congress the need still exists.
"What they gave us, the $1.6 billion is not enough in a collective storm between March and August that we think will have more than an $8.7 billion economic impact," Payer added.
Legier, who finished the survey in less than seven minutes, says she was surprised at how easy it was. "Yes. I'm not very computer literate, so for me to have completed it that quickly, I thought was pretty easy," she said.
While Legier was impressed with how quickly the survey went, she admits she does have concerns about if she will be eligible. The first round of money is set to go to those with low to moderate income.
"That I do understand, however, my home was damaged just like everyone else's home was damaged and it's unfortunate that it's based on your income level," Legier added.
Legier is still at ground zero with repairing her home. She says her biggest road block has been finding someone she trusts to do the work. "It's very important that I take my time because I want to have the right person to repair my home and it's going to be the job that I am satisfied with," she said.
Legier says she is cautiously optimistic about being selected for a portion of the federal money, but hopes whatever she is approved for comes sooner rather than later. "I would hope that they stop sitting on this money. We need the help," Legier added.
On Friday, March 31, HUD approved Louisiana's final Action Plan for the second congressional appropriation of $1.2 billion in flood recovery funds. Back in February, HUD approved the first Action Plan for the initial $438 million. The money has not yet been disbursed, however.
To view the approval of the second Action Plan Amendment from HUD, click here.
HUD approved the state's initial Action Plan in February, citing "historically fast Action Plan submission." That approval letter can be read here.
The Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program began Monday, April 10. There are two main parts to the program. The first part is a survey to determine when a homeowner may apply for assistance. This process is separate from registration with FEMA. The second part of the program involves the application itself.