Loans To Governments, Grants For Rebuilding Homeowners

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency has activated a loan program for local governments in Louisiana affected by the August floods, and has approved more than $128 million in grants for a "shelter at home" program for people rebuilding damaged residences.

         Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the activation of the Community Disaster Loan Program in a Friday news release. He said money loaned through the program will help local governments carry on government functions and meet disaster-related needs.

         "We appreciate FEMA's approval of our request, and we hope this will provide some relief to the local governments who are worried about how to deal with the unexpected costs associated with this flooding," Edwards, a Democrat, said.

         The shelter-at-home grant money was announced by members for the state congressional delegation. The program enables people to live in their flood-damaged homes, instead of hotels or other temporary housing, while they make repairs.

         "We have been pushing the concept of the Shelter at Home Program because it has the potential to be a more effective alternative to other post-disaster temporary housing programs," Rep. Garrett Graves, R-Baton Rouge, said in a news release.

         Graves said the program could save hundreds of thousands of dollars, although he said he is concerned that the program has too many layers of bureaucracy.



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