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FEMA pays more than $1 billion to help with Hurricane Ida recovery

Houma Today logo Houma Today 11/26/2021 Dan Copp, The Courier
FEMA representatives meet with residents at Lowe's in Houma. © Submitted FEMA representatives meet with residents at Lowe's in Houma.

More than $1 billion in grants have been paid to over 550,000 households in 25 parishes to help residents recover from Hurricane Ida, FEMA said.  

The destructive Category 4 storm blew through southeast Louisiana on Aug. 29 and left over 13,000 families without homes.  

The agency said it has paid $121 million to over 32,499 households in Terrebonne as of Tuesday. This includes over $48 million in repair assistance, more than $26 million in temporary rental assistance and over $37 million for other needs. 

More: Deadline approaching to apply for FEMA aid

In Lafourche, more than $96.9 million has been approved for over 27,267 households including over $42 million in repair assistance, over $18 million in temporary rental assistance and $29 million for other needs, FEMA said. 

“It just means there is a lot of money out there to help people with their recovery,” FEMA spokesman Gerard Hammink said. “It was a Category 4 storm that hit a highly populated area, from New Orleans to Houma. There was a lot of damage, and recovery is going well for some people and much more slowly for others.” 

Hammink urged residents to provide accurate and up-to-date information to FEMA representatives to reduce obstacles to their recovery.  

“I think some things get lost in translation and that’s when people may get a determination that they’re not eligible when really they are,” he said. “I do think those snafus just happen. It’s unfortunately part of life, but I would urge people who apply to verify that FEMA has all of the information they need.” 

More: FEMA disaster recovery centers will no longer be open Sundays

Over 4,100 households are currently checked into hotel rooms that are being paid for by FEMA, the agency said. About 760 of them are from Terrebonne and 270 are from Lafourche. 

In terms of housing, so far about 60 families in Terrebonne and Lafourche are currently occupying FEMA units, including travel trailers and mobile homes, Hammink said.  

“That number is lower than we would like it to be, and I can assure everyone that FEMA leaders and housing officials are working to cut through the red tape, but there are some bottlenecks,” he said. “So we’re working hard to get more people into the units that are on the ground. It’s not a quick fix.” 

Meanwhile, the Small Business Administration has approved 2,454 applications in Terrebonne for about $145 million. In Lafourche, 1,837 applications have been approved for nearly $115 million.  

Though FEMA disaster centers are closed for the entire Thanksgiving weekend, they will reopen at their regular hours Monday.  

Monday also marks the last day for survivors to apply with both FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration.  

“If a survivor misses the deadline they really need to have a good extenuating circumstance to get in after,” Hammink said. “That’s why we really do urge people to register. If you haven’t yet, just do it now. The numbers are going to continue to rise because people are continuing to apply and will get grants if they are eligible. Even after the deadline, FEMA disaster recovery centers will remain open to help people who have applied work through their issues.” 

The quickest way to apply for FEMA assistance is online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone at 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. every day.  

Residents can also meet with FEMA representatives in person at disaster recovery centers in Terrebonne and Lafourche.  

To locate a center, check the FEMA app or visit fema.gov/DRCLocator

— Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or at dan.copp@houmatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp. 

This article originally appeared on The Courier: FEMA pays more than $1 billion to help with Hurricane Ida recovery

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