BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana residents affected by flooding in 2016 will be eligible to receive Restore Louisiana grants even if they took out Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, according to a delegation of the state’s congressional leaders.
U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and John Kennedy (R-LA), and U.S. Representatives Ralph Abraham, M.D. (R-LA) and Garret Graves (R-LA) released a joint statement on Thursday, May 2.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson, in calls with Cassidy and Kennedy, confirmed details regarding the upcoming Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) legal guidance needed to implement the duplication of benefits (DOB) fix for 2016 Louisiana flood victims passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump in October of 2018. Secretary Carson also confirmed the grants can be used to pay off SBA loans.
To ensure families with lower to moderate income receive assistance, those who make below 120 percent of the area-median-income (AMI) will be immediately eligible for the Restore Louisiana grants. Those making above 120 percent AMI will be able to apply for an exemption to receive the grants.
Figures for 120 percent of AMI for parishes in the area affected by flooding are below.
“This was a hard fight for Louisiana families and I’m glad to report that duplication of benefits will be fixed. Rules will be released in days, but I have received assurances from Secretary Carson that if you took out an SBA loan you will be eligible to receive a Restore Louisiana grant and have the resources you need to recover,” Cassidy said. “We had thousands of people in Louisiana after the great flood of 2016 who were punished for being responsible and doing the right thing.”
“This is a long-awaited day for flood victims, and it wouldn’t have arrived without the president’s intervention. I made Louisiana’s case to President Trump. He told me that he would resolve this, and he did,” Kennedy said. “Duplication of benefits was a huge hurdle for many families as they struggled to rebuild. Louisianans are resilient, but they’ll be made even stronger by getting the disaster relief they were promised.”
“Today’s news will provide long overdue relief for thousands of Louisianians who were unfairly denied the disaster aid that they deserve,” Abraham said. “The Congressional delegation worked hand-in-hand together to deliver for Louisiana, and I appreciate President Trump for helping us make this happen.”
“We have been in the end zone with the football since October. We appreciate the officials calling our touchdown six months later—makes the NFC Championship refs look good,” Graves said.