The recent Louisiana Flooding has left 13 dead and 40,000 homes and businesses without power. As of now, we have seen 8,000 people in shelters across Louisiana and witnessed more than 20,000 rescues. It addition to the displacement of thousands of families, the loss of personal property is its own disaster. With only about 13% of the residents estimated to have flood insurance, many will be looking for financial assistance in rebuilding their lives.  This has left Louisiana in a desperate housing shortage from the recent floods.

FEMA Offers Up To $33,000

FEMA flood assistanceWhen the President signed the Disaster Declaration, the door opened for federal funds to flow in the affected areas. As of now, the Parishes that are currently eligible for federal disaster assistance are:

Acadia, Ascension, Avoyelles, East Baton Rouge ,East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Point Coupee, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Vermilion, Washington and West Feliciana, , Livingston, St. Helena and Tangipahoa.

The FEMA program is designed to assist with short term rent, utilities and even uninsured property damage including automobiles and home repairs. Although it is not impossible to receive federal funds if you have flood insurance, the system is not designed to double pay. After hurricane Katrina, congress created the “disaster relief fund”, which currently holds approximately two billion dollars. The system has a cap which rises with the cost of living and the maximum allowed changed from $25,000 in 2005 to $33,000. In addition to money directly paid, residents who may have become temporarily unemployed, due to the Louisiana flooding, may also qualify for up to 26 weeks of disaster unemployment. Although the individual cap is $33,000, it is estimated that most will receive substantially less than that. The funds are disseminated on a “fist come first serve” basis so it is imperative to register as soon as possible.

FEMA payouts
FEMA payouts for Previous Disasters

According to the FEMA website, grants will be awarded “as needed and warranted”. The funds must be used to repair or replace items which would be needed to make a home “safe, sanitary and functional.” Individuals who sign up for the direct deposit option will receive their funds faster. In addition, people who provide a cell phone number have an option of receiving text alerts as your case progresses. Although you can sign up online or by phone, every applicant will receive the required paperwork through the mail, so its imperative to provide an address where mail can be delivered and received by the correct party.

How To Apply For FEMA Assistance

To register for FEMA assistance online at www.disasasterassstance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362

Low Interest SBA Loans Are Available

SBA LoansThe Small Business Association offers low interest loans to those affected by the Louisiana flooding. Homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 from the SBA for repairs to your flooded property. In addition, renters and homeowners alike can qualify for up to $40,000 from SBA to replace personal property that was damaged in the flooding.

SBA for Businesses

For small business, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Small businesses can borrow up to two million dollars for any economic injury sustained from the Louisiana flooding. Money can also be used to pay for property damage and working capital.

Rates for SBA loans

The Interest Rates for SBA loans are as follows:

For Physical Damage:
HOMEOWNERS WITH CREDIT AVAILABLE ELSEWHERE 3.125
HOMEOWNERS WITHOUT CREDIT AVAILABLE ELSEWHERE 1.563
BUSINESSES WITH CREDIT AVAILABLE ELSEWHERE 6.250
BUSINESSES WITHOUT CREDIT A VAILABLE ELSEWHERE 4.000
NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS WITH CREDIT AVAILABLE ELSEWHERE 2.625
NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS WITHOUT CREDIT AVAILABLE ELSEWHERE 2.625
For Economic Injury:
BUSINESSES & SMALL AGRICULTURAL COOPERATIVES WITHOUT CREDIT AVAILABLE ELSEWHERE NON-PROFIT 4.000
ORGANIZATIONS WITHOUT CREDIT AVAILABLE ELSEWHERE 2.625

How to Apply For SBA Loans

Applications for SBA Loans can be made by visiting https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/