BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - On Friday, Oct. 11, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued an update on the duplication of benefits issue that has plagued many 2016 flood victims.
The state submitted an Action Plan Amendment (APA) to alleviate the duplication of benefits issue that impacted homeowners who took out Small Business Association (SBA) loans and have not been able to receive money from the Restore Louisiana program. As part of the guidance HUD issued in June, the state had to submit an APA in order to authorize the use of Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds for reimbursement of already paid out SBA loan amounts. The approval will help relieve the burden for homeowners who make at or below 120% of the Area Median Income (AMI). HUD is requiring more documentation be submitted for households above 120% AMI.
“This new guidance means relief for nearly 2,000 Louisiana homeowners who previously were prevented from accessing assistance from the Restore program because of the SBA duplication of benefits problem, and today that is no longer the case,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “While it is not everything we asked for, it will provide much needed help to our citizens who have been burdened by those loans, and we are thankful to our congressional delegation and HUD for their work in addressing this issue. Pat Forbes and his team with the Office of Community Development will continue working with officials from HUD in submitting the additional information requested in order to help even more of our people continue to rebuild and move forward.”
“This is news that many of you have been waiting on for a long time,” said Congressman Garret Graves. "The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has given the Louisiana Restore Program the authority to issue Duplication of Benefits checks to those individuals between 40% and 120% AMI with unconditional approval. For the hardship criteria, the state submitted nine hardship criteria and HUD has approved two of them but will continue to work with the state to approve or develop a hardship program. So for those over the 120% AMI, we are not stopping.”
Since getting HUD’s initial guidance on SBA loans, the program has expedited reimbursement to nearly 870 homeowners who got more than $16 million in fund previously inaccessible to them due to federal regulations that required undisbursed portions of SBA loans to be considered as a duplication of benefits whether the loans were canceled, declined, or accepted.
Click here to read the detailed release from the Office of Community Development.