Louisiana homeowners, frustrated by the pace of the roll out of the state's major flood recovery program, are imploring members of the task force overseeing the state's efforts to give them a clearer picture of when they may receive aid.
"I'm one of those who is just tired of waiting," Linda Mouton, of Maurice, told the Restore Louisiana Task Force at its meeting in Abbeville on Friday.
Hoping to nudge a long-stalled flood prevention project, Gov. John Bel Edwards is expected t…
Officials warned Friday that the pace could slow even further as hurricane recovery efforts in Florida and Texas swallow resources. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma efforts have claimed nearly half the number of qualified damage inspectors who have been working in Louisiana since the floods of March and August 2016.
The state has distributed about $18 million of the $1.3 billion that the state has received from the federal government to help homeowners rebuild and repair their homes after last year's historic floods.
Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration has pointed to federal red tape that kept money tied up until April and necessary environmental reviews and inspections required by the federal government to spend the money.
"We cannot argue with folks who say that it takes too long," Office of Community Development director Pat Forbes said at the meeting. "We know that it takes too long,"
About 44,000 homeowners have competed an initial survey required to be considered for the federally-funded homeowner rebuilding program. Homeowners can receive reimbursements for work already completed or go through the program to begin work with a contractor.
More than 28,000 environmental reviews have been completed – about 76 percent of the people who have qualified. About 600 homeowners have been granted funds.
But the homeowners who appeared at the task force meeting said that they feel like the next steps come after delays that they don't understand.
For the first time since historic floods swept across Louisiana last August, the state's flo…
"How long does it take to get reimbursed?" said Janice McCumber, of Abbeville. "I think people don't want to fool with this because of the experience they had with FEMA before."
"Every time I've called, it's under review," she added.
Edwards' office has repeatedly pointed to statistics from past disasters that have shown that the flood response has been fast in comparison. But a year after the floods, the pace of the money flow has become a concern among leaders, including some members of Louisiana's Congressional delegation.
The state is still seeking additional aid for the long-term recovery from the floods. Congress didn't include the flood recovery in Community Development Block Grants in an aid package dedicated to Hurricane Harvey. CDBG has been the main source of long-term disaster recovery aid, including the $1.7 billion that Louisiana has received for the flood.
Congress will have to pass another spending plan in December to prevent a federal government shutdown, but it remains unclear whether Louisiana will get additional flood recovery dollars then, particularly in light of recent major hurricanes.