By David Jacobs | The Center Square
Gov. John Bel Edwards is asking the federal government to send the state $3 billion in grants to help southwest Louisiana recover from a record-breaking hurricane season.
Edwards made a similar request to the Trump administration and renewed his call in a letter to President Joe Biden, the governor said. Congress would have to approve the spending.
Louisiana has been approved for more than $1 billion in federal disaster assistance, long-term disaster loans and flood-insurance claims since Hurricane Laura made landfall in late August and Hurricane Delta in mid-October, the Federal Emergency Management Agency says.
“We’ve made progress, but there’s still a ways to go,” FEMA Regional Administrator Tony Robinson said Tuesday.
The requested allocation of Community Development Block Grants would be for long-term recovery rather than immediate response.
“Now we must deal with a larger scope, with issues that are more chronic than acute,” Calcasieu Parish Administrator Bryan Beam said Tuesday. “Issues that will take a lot of money, to be honest.”
If approved, the block grants could be used for various goals including rebuilding homes, creating affordable rental housing, mitigation to alleviate future hazards and disasters, modernizing infrastructure, and compensating for agricultural losses, Edwards said. State officials also want to be able to use the funds to pay for the state portion of the cost of the storm response, which Edwards expects will be 10 percent of the total.
Edwards said 684 people still are being sheltered in Louisiana following hurricanes Laura and Delta. He said case managers have been assigned to evacuees to help them find assistance.
“We want them to be able to go home,” Edwards said.
Beam said Calcasieu Parish’s recovery plan has been posted at calcasieuparish.gov.