Leaders push for community to complete flood damage survey

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The state says as many as 86,000 homeowners have yet to fill out the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program survey to find out if they're eligible for flood aid, something the state says is critical in helping Louisiana get as much federal aid as possible.

"It looks like 94 percent of our parish was inundated at one time, anywhere from three to ten days. You're talking about 20 something thousand homes," said Mark Harrell with the Livingston Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

However, the number of completed surveys doesn't begin to scratch the surface of the goal. "We've got some 18,500 at this point who have filled out the survey," said executive director of the Louisiana Office of Community Development, Pat Forbes.

Forbes says that number needs to go up. If your home flooded in August, fill the survey out, period. "If you finished your work, it doesn't matter. You could be eligible for reimbursement for some of that work," said Forbes.

"Unfortunately we have quite a few people that's never gutted their home, never started the process of rebuilding. Most of it is financially driven, just don't have the funding," said Harrell.

Experts say the current criteria, which might be deterring flood victims from filling out the survey, could change since Governor John Bel Edwards is trying to get another $2 billion for the state's recovery effort. "As we go back to Congress, as the governor and congressional delegation work with White House to try and get more funds for us, it's important that we clearly understand the unmet needs that we face," said Forbes.

The Office of Community Development says construction and reimbursements could begin by the end of the month, possibly drastically improving the parish landscape.

"It's gonna' finalize the living conditions for the people. You know it's a lot of people. They're almost there, but can't get over the hump to finish it and this funding should help them," said Harrell.

Click here to fill out the survey.

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