LAFAYETTE, La. (The Daily Advertiser) – The Federal Emergency Management Agency has distributed $14.9 million to Lafayette Parish households and $322 million statewide to households affected by the recent floods, Chris Van Alstyne, FEMA operations, said Wednesday.
Van Alstyne, from Kansas, was among a host of FEMA representatives on hand Wednesday to meet with residents of Derby Heights subdivision, an unincorporated part of Lafayette Parish off Carmel Drive, where floodwater from the mid-August deluge didn’t drain until this week.
In Lafayette Parish alone, more than 7,900 households registered with FEMA for assistance, Van Alstyne said. Statewide, 132,000 households are registered.
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, everyone heard horror stories about the way FEMA handled its response; that’s not the case with the flood, state Sen. Gerald Boudreaux, D-Lafayette, said.
“Every time we have called them they have been there,” he said.
Van Alstyne was complimentary of Lafayette Consolidated Government, which had a debris contractor on standby before the disaster to accommodate cleanup, and agencies, first responders and residents who helped one another during and after the floods.
FEMA is offering short-term rental assistance to some flood victims, he said, and putting others up in hotels until Sept. 14.
Residents who are denied FEMA assistance should read their denial letter thoroughly. Van Alstyne said the denial could be based on something as simple as the name on the FEMA application not exactly matching the name on the individual’s Social Security registration.
“A denial letter from FEMA does not mean the end of the story,” he said.
Gov. John Bel Edwards is expected to visit Lafayette Parish, including Derby Heights, Thursday, Boudreaux said.
“We want you to tell your story to the governor when he comes,” he said, because that’s the first step in obtaining additional federal money for flood relief from Congress.
“This is a long process but we are going to be here with you,” Boudreaux added.
Anyone affected by the August floods should register for federal assistance from FEMA at https://www.disasterassistance.gov/
Flood victims may seek additional assistance through the following programs:
* Louisiana Shelter at Home program, https://shelterathome.la.gov/
* Other housing options, http://gov.louisiana.gov/page/interim-housing-assistance
* Small Business Administration disaster loans, https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
* Other resources available to flood victims, http://gov.louisiana.gov/page/resources-for-flood-victims
* How to appeal a FEMA decision, http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2016/05/04/how-appeal-fema-decision