Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Louisiana Recovery Authority Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:


June 10, 2009


Media Contact:
Christina Stephens
Louisiana Recovery Authority
225.603.3896

christina.stephens@la.gov


Governor Bobby Jindal Announces Second Allocation 
of Federal Recovery Assistance - $620 Million in Aid for 
Hurricanes Gustav & Ike Recovery


BATON ROUGE - This afternoon Governor Bobby Jindal announced that the federal government's second allotment of recovery assistance to assist the state in building back from Hurricanes Gustav and Ike totals $620 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the funding earlier today, and this second allotment follows the first allotment of $438 million to Louisiana from HUD last year.
Governor Bobby Jindal said, "Louisiana has been struck by four major hurricanes in three years, and this assistance is critical for helping our parishes support their housing, economic development and infrastructure priorities. We are absolutely committed to building back stronger than ever before, and this funding will give communities the vital assistance they need to rebuild and encourage growth in their local economies.
"This second allotment of recovery assistance meets the state's federally approved recovery plan to provide $57.8 million in assistance to agricultural needs, $27.4 million for coastal restoration needs, $27.4 million to support our fisheries and $84.9 million for affordable rental housing assistance. Many industries in our state are continuing to recover from the storms as they also work to compete in this challenging national economy. These funds will help them take a positive step forward in their recovery efforts."
Wednesday's announcement is the second allocation of a $6.1 billion pool of CDBG funds Congress set aside for states affected by disasters in 2008, including Louisiana and Texas for hurricane damage and states in the Midwest for flooding. In November, HUD allocated $438 million to Louisiana in their first round of funding.
Additionally, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced today that HUD is creating a pool of $312 million in competitive disaster innovation grants for states affected by disasters in 2008.
"Hurricanes Gustav and Ike struck Louisiana in one of its most vulnerable times - when we already faced a recovery from two major hurricanes. In the months since, state and local leaders have worked diligently to set priorities for recovery," said Paul Rainwater, executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. "These additional recovery funds will help parishes face housing and economic development issues head on and allow the state to offer much needed aid to its fishing and farming sectors, while continuing to address coastal restoration and affordable housing needs."
"We will be working with state agencies and local leaders to come up with creative applications for further rebuilding funds and look forward to competing for these dollars and demonstrating innovations in recovery," Rainwater said.

Damage levels were determined for each parish based on HUD analysis of FEMA damage assessments. Accordingly, the 10 most damaged parishes were: Terrebonne, Cameron, Iberville, East Baton Rouge, Lafourche, Jefferson, Assumption, St. Mary, Ascension and Calcasieu.

To use federal CDBG funds, states must present action plans for federal approval. HUD already approved Louisiana's first action plan for using these funds, giving the state the ability to draw down administrative and other funds. The approved plan is as follows:
State-level set aside: $197.5 million

Agriculture -- $57.8 million

Coastal Restoration -- $27.4 million

Fisheries -- $27.4 million

Affordable Rental Housing -- $84.9 million

Parish-level allocations for housing, infrastructure and economic development: $565.5 million

Local and State Administrative costs: $40 million

Additionally, Louisiana has submitted its first amendment to this action plan, which HUD must also approve. The state has held several outreach events for parish leaders and has already signed Cooperative Endeavor Agreements (CEAs) with 30 of the 43 round one designated parishes and the Department of Agriculture, which will allow these entities to act as subgrantees of the state and administer their own programs.
Many parishes, working in conjunction with municipalities, have started holding required community participation meetings to obtain citizen input on their recovery plans and critical needs. The state anticipates beginning to approve individual parish plans this summer.

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