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More Louisiana Homeowners Eligible For Flood Recovery Aid

DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (AP) — Louisiana's flood recovery board agreed Friday to Gov. John Bel Edwards' plan to widen eligibility for a homeowner aid program by including those whose flood insurance proceeds didn't cover their rebuilding costs.

         Grant amounts for some homeowners without flood insurance who already had been eligible for limited rebuilding aid also will be boosted, under program changes unanimously backed by the Restore Louisiana Task Force.

         The $1.3 billion homeowner aid program was created with federal recovery dollars to help those with damage from the March and August 2016 floods.

         Of those with flood insurance, only elderly and disabled, low- to moderate-income homeowners had been eligible for the program. But Edwards' administration determined it can broaden eligibility based on applications received so far.

         "It's clear that there should be enough funds to meet additional unmet needs of affected households," Pat Forbes, executive director of the state's recovery agency, said in a statement.

         About $16 million in grants have been awarded to more than 550 homeowners so far.

         More than 40,000 people have taken the survey that is the first step to determining eligibility. The Edwards administration has been trying to encourage more people to fill it out, knowing that about 100,000 homes were estimated to have been damaged by the floods.

         Some of the adjustments approved Friday will require approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees the federal recovery block grant money. Edwards' office expects to easily get the necessary support.



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