See also Mitigation Assistance
Following a presidential declaration, disaster assistance is made available to help residents and local governments in the declared parishes recover from the effects of the disaster. The decision to include a parish in a presidential disaster declaration is made jointly by the governor's authorized representative (head of the Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness) and the federal coordinating officer assigned by FEMA to the situation. The announcement, which includes a list of parishes being declared, is usually made by the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and published in a FEMA press release. Some types of assistance are available in parishes that adjoin the declared parishes.
When a parish is named in a disaster declaration, all cities, towns, villages and unincorporated areas in the declared parish are included.
SBA's disaster loans are the primary form of federal assistance for non-farm, private-sector disaster losses. The disaster loan program is the only form of SBA assistance not limited to small businesses. (more)
USDA offers several forms of disaster assistance for agricultural losses. These programs are administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) (more)
Stricken residents and business owners in declared parishes are eligible to apply for a wide range of state and federal disaster-assistance programs. The aid can include:
- funding for temporary housing
- U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property
- disaster unemployment assistance
- grants for serious needs and necessary expenses not met by other programs.
Affected residents and business owners in the declared parishes apply for assistance by calling a toll-free registration number (a special number is provided for those with a speech or hearing impairment).
Federal funding is made available to affected local governments and state agencies to pay 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, buildings and utilities. Public assistance inquiries go to the parish office of emergency management. The parish office will forward requests for assistance to the state.
Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness:
Matters relating to a presidential declared disaster (and state declarations) are managed in Louisiana by the Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP). GOHSEP coordinates its statewide efforts through the parish emergency management offices -- your first contact for disaster assistance. (In declared disasters, you will be referred to the FEMA TeleRegistration Hotline; 800-621-3362.) GOHSEP also provides these other valuable resources:
Special Recovery Assistance Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
Damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Louisiana was so extensive, Congress made special appropriations for recovery in the affected states. In Louisiana, management of recovery funding was vested in a newly created body -- the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA). Compensation to homeowners and owners of small rental properties is being provided through the state's Road Home program. These and subsequent disaster recovery programs were eventually taken into the Louisiana Office of Community Development, Disaster Recovery Unit.