Mar 25, 2022 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA), Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), and Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) are urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to waive monthly rent payments for survivors of Hurricanes Laura and Delta who are utilizing the direct housing program.

“The extenuating circumstances surrounding Southwest Louisiana’s recovery warrant an uncommon response,” wrote the lawmakers. “We respectfully request that FEMA waive required monthly rent payments through October 31, 2022, for the nearly 1,700 households currently utilizing the direct housing program for Hurricanes Laura and Delta.”

“Southwest Louisiana was devastated by an unprecedented string of natural disasters in 2020 and 2021. Hurricanes Laura, Delta, a severe winter storm, and the May 2021 flood event caused extensive damage to the region and created major disruptions to the recovery process,” continued the lawmakers. “These disasters were in addition to pandemic-related challenges, lumber shortages, and nationwide supply chain issues that have hamstrung construction and rebuilding efforts. These compounding issues have caused extensive delays for Southwest Louisiana families trying to return to permanent housing.”

“Nearly 19 months after Hurricane Laura’s landfall and six months after Congress appropriated funding, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has finally announced its allocation to the State of Louisiana through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program. Louisiana’s share of CDBG-DR funding will largely be used to address unmet housing needs,” wrote the lawmakers. “While these long-term recovery resources will greatly help Louisiana’s recovery mission, the funding is still making its way through the bureaucratic process and is not able to be spent at this time… A waiver on rent through October 31, 2022, will allow CDBG-DR money to flow into the community and address essential housing needs before rent payments begin.”

The full text of the letter is available here.

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