Congress has approved $400 million for flood recovery efforts in Louisiana, but when that money will be available to flood victims is still up in the air. Lafayette City-Parish president Joel Robideaux says people are looking for answers, and that’s something local officials can’t give them right now.
“Our folks are having to make decisions about what to do with their house, and they don’t have the money to fix it. They have a mortgage, and they’ve got to make some really tough decisions,” Robideaux said.
Robideaux sits on the Recovery Louisiana Task Force and he says they hope to come up with some kind of solution in the next few weeks. He says one option to get immediate aid to people could be a bridge loan from a bank, similar to what was done for small businesses after Katrina.
“When you get the recovery dollars, it’ll come to pay off the loan. Whatever balance is left on there, maybe that’s when the SBA loan program steps in and then takes over that loan at an even lower interest,” Robideaux said.
Robideaux says 4,000 homes were impacted in Lafayette parish. He says they have a lot of questions, and solutions are hard to come by. But he says Lafayette residents are resilient, and they are doing what they can while they wait for answers.
“The homeowners and their friends are hanging sheet rock and floating it and doing it all themselves for those that can, but for a lot of folks they’re really just in this no man’s land,” Robideaux said.