550+ households awarded funds so far through Restore Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - One year after floodwaters turned the streets of Port Vincent into rivers, the state is in the process of paying out awards to homeowners as part of the Restore Louisiana program.
As of Wednesday, 553 homes had received a combined $16 million. That is just a d rop in the bucket compared to the $1.3 billion the state has earmarked for homeowner assistance.
"We will never be satisfied with whatever rate we achieve on this. It's not fast enough," said Pat Forbes, the executive director of the Office of Community Development.
Data provided by the state shows most of the aid awarded so far has gone to homeowners in East Baton Rouge parish. EBR had one of the highest concentrations of flood victims. So far, 365 homeowners were awarded $9.6 million.
In Livingston Parish, 112 homeowners received approximately $3.5 million so far, with just over 20 of those homes in the Denham Springs city limits.
Meanwhile, in Ascension Parish, 26 homes have been awarded about $1.3 million.
Forbes said they have done everything possible to speed up the process of distributing these dollars.
"When we look back at other disasters – Sandy, other previous disasters before that – no funds were out by the anniversary date," he said. "We're actually doing this faster than anybody's done it before. It's still not fast enough."
Forbes said the average award is around $29,000. For most households, those award dollars are split up between paying for new construction and reimbursing work already completed.
Just yesterday, the governor announced that he would like to expand the number of people eligible for the awards to include all those with insurance who have unmet needs. He also would like to increase the awards for households that already are eligible for construction and reimbursements.
The Restore Louisiana Task Force will be briefed on those proposals at their meeting this Friday.
Forbes also continues to push homeowners to complete the Restore Louisiana survey. So far, more than 40,000 have done the survey statewide.
In EBR, more than 17,000 had completed the survey. In Livingston, 8,285 have completed the form, while in Ascension, 3,258 have completed the questionnaire.
Forbes estimates there are currently about 15,000 households currently eligible for aid that have not completed the survey yet. The survey can be found here.

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