The Restore Louisiana Task Force meets today to discuss plans to spend federal flood relief dollars. In the weeks after the August flood, the state secured 438-million and then another 1.2 billion was appropriated in December.
Pat Forbes, executive director of the State Office of Community Development, says today they'll hear the final changes to the plan for the $438 million and it will go to the state's most vulnerable population.
"They are the least likely to have the resources they need to get back on their feet by themselves," said Forbes. "Now with the $1.2 billion added we will be talking about a plan that provides funds for everybody who had major damage, and who doesn't have flood insurance."
Forbes says, unfortunately, when you're dealing with federal money - the process of how to secure it takes longer than anyone wants. He says it's been 147 days since the flooding began in south Louisiana, and the state has had just 20 of those days to discuss funding plans.
"The rest of the days are either Congress appropriating funds or HUD writing the rules," asid Forbes. "We can't do anything until those things are done."
Forbes says once HUD approves the final plan for the first installment, the agency will make the money available to the state; maybe by March. He says, moving forward, the total $1.6 billion pledged by Congress is greatly appreciated.
"But it's still two billion dollars short than what the governor has asked for, and what our best estimates are that we need for a full recovery," said Forbes.
The Task Force looks at both the August and March flood events that impacted the state.