WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA) and members of the Louisiana congressional delegation delivered a letter today urging President Biden to address bureaucratic obstacles that have prevented long-term recovery resources appropriated by Congress from reaching the state.
“The people of Louisiana were hit by 18 months of unprecedented disasters. . . . Congress responded by providing $5 billion in disaster relief aid through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief (CDBG-DR) program administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs (HUD),” the delegation wrote.
“It is our understanding that nearly $3 billion of the $5 billion set aside for disaster relief for natural disasters in 2020 and 2021, including Hurricanes Laura, Delta, and Ida, is sitting untouched at HUD. The delay in allocating these funds is attributed to an expired data-sharing agreement between HUD and FEMA that significantly impairs FEMA’s ability to share damage assessments with HUD,” the delegation continued. “These damage assessments evaluate the scale of destruction caused by natural disasters and, thus, allow HUD to determine which communities to deliver the funding to. Unless this data is shared, HUD will continue to hold money that could be used to help communities recover from these disasters.”
“Unfortunately, without a solution in sight, Louisiana families are left paying the price for bureaucratic red tape. These funds are the lifeline our people need to get back on their feet and address the dire housing situation caused by these storms. We humbly request that you direct HUD and FEMA to quickly forge a data-sharing agreement between the two agencies,” the delegation concluded.
Read the full letter below or as pdf here.