Fed gov says it’s distributed over $800 million in Hurricane Ida recovery efforts

Jene J. Long

A FEMA worker registers a Hurricane Ida survivor in Houma, Louisiana.

A Wednesday news release from the federal government revealed that in the 30 days since Hurricane Ida struck Louisiana, disaster survivors have received more than $660 million in grants in addition to $211 million in low-interest loans.

State and federal programs have been designed to help survivors and communities recover by providing blue roofs and emergency hotel assistance.

Additional recovery efforts for survivors include assistance for safe sheltering, rental assistance, home repairs and help with serious needs such as medical, childcare, moving and storage expenses.

How FEMA has helped Ida survivors

 FEMA deployed staff to support survivors before, during and after Hurricane Ida made landfall. At the height of the response, nearly 1,500 federal employees assisted with response efforts.

FEMA’s Disaster Survivor Assistance teams are helping survivors register for assistance and providing answers to their questions. DSA personnel have met with more than 51,000 people and helped nearly 14,000 survivors apply for FEMA assistance.

Currently, 16 disaster recovery centers are open. There have been nearly 8,000 visits to the centers, where survivors can talk face to face with recovery specialists about a wide range of assistance programs.

How federal funds have been utilized post-Ida

Federal authorities say that to date, nearly 500,000 individuals and households have been approved for more than $660 million in assistance.

More than $223 million of this is for rental assistance, which survivors can use for security deposits, rent and the cost of essential utilities, such as gas and water.

Additionally, over $111 million in assistance has been supplied to survivors for assistance in repairing their damaged homes. Officials expect this number to rise as inspections are completed.

Another $318 million went to serious needs such as medical, funeral, childcare, moving and storage expenses or other essential items purchased, such as generators and chainsaws.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $211 million in low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters and businesses.

As of this week, the National Flood Insurance Program has paid nearly $77 million in claims to policyholders.

For Louisiana survivors of Ida, Critical Needs Assistance eligibility was expanded. As a result, an additional 120,000 Hurricane Ida applicants have been approved for Critical Needs Assistance.

FEMA is providing temporary housing assistance through the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program, which allows eligible survivors who are unable to live in their primary home to stay temporarily at a participating hotel or motel, which FEMA pays for directly.

To date, more than 19,600 households have checked into participating hotels, and about 8,000 continue to utilize the program.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has installed more than 9,000 blue roofs, enabling families to live in their homes while permanent repairs are made.

SBA has opened five business recovery centers to issue loan applications, answer questions about the disaster loan program, explain the application process and help businesses complete their applications.

FEMA disability integration specialists are working with state and local community leaders to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to disaster assistance.

Hurricane relief assistance for Louisiana’s Deaf population 

The Louisiana Association of the Deaf and the Louisiana Commission for the Deaf hosted two events for deaf survivors affected by Hurricane Ida. Between the two events, one Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) and four FEMA American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters worked alongside one CDI and eight ASL interpreters from the surrounding communities to help provide assistance to over 250 deaf individuals. 

The community and FEMA interpreters assisted deaf survivors applying for FEMA assistance and checking the status of their applications. Survivors were also able to get damaged video phones replaced from Purple VRS.

White House extends post-hurricane federal assistance period

President Biden has extended the period of 100% federal funding for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, from 30 to 45 days. 

The federal share for all categories of Public Assistance, including direct federal assistance, has been increased to 90% of the total eligible costs.

For the latest information visit fema.gov/disaster/4611

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