LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – It’s been nearly nine months since the historic August 2016 flood and thousands of flood victims have yet to receive federal aid.
At least 40,000 homes damaged, more than 30,000 rescued from rising water, and 13 people killed across five parishes.
The historic August flood was the worst U.S. disaster since Hurricane Sandy. But in the wake of the catastrophe, Congress stepped up, approving more than $1.6 billion for flood relief.
On October 13th, 2016, Congress approved $500 million for flood-damaged communities; $437 million was appropriated for Louisiana to start the rebuilding process.
According to U.S. Senator John Kennedy, flood victims have yet to see a dime of that money.
“The governor needs to get that money, and he’s got control over, he needs to get that money out of that bank account and into the hands of our people!” Senator Kennedy told News 10.
In late December of 2016, the Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded Louisiana more than 1.2 billion dollars for disaster relief; money Senator Kennedy says Governor John Bel Edwards is sitting on.
“I don’t mean to be too critical or point the finger but doggone it the governor is the chief executive officer of the state. By God, give them the money! And if I sound angry about it I am!” Kennedy said.
“For anyone who suggests that the state of Louisiana has actually had money that was available to it, that it not correct,” Governor Edwards told News 10.
Governor Edwards says although Housing and Urban Development approved the disaster relief funds, officials did not have access to the money.
“Even though we were historically fast in getting our state action plan submitted to HUD and approved by HUD, the fact of the matter is, the bureaucracy stands in the way,” Edwards said.
It wasn’t until April 10, 2017, that the federal government granted Louisiana officials access to the $1.6 billion for flood victims.
“The challenge is, we still need an additional billion dollars of that has been appropriated from Congress. Hood agrees with those numbers, that’s the remaining unmet need for our housing alone for the Community Development Block Grant program,” Edwards explained.
With just over three months away from the historic august flooding anniversary, resident are still waiting on relief.
The current stage of flood relief disbursement requires homeowners affected by the flood complete the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program survey.
Victims can that survey at restore.la.gov.