2016 flood edition

As our state finds itself faced with unprecedented destruction, CPEX wants to help our friends and neighbors experiencing flood damage. The following is not professional advice, we are simply sharing the knowledge available through our staff, partners, and friends that we feel will be helpful. Please circulate to anyone in need of this information, and be sure to confirm anything you read here with your government, insurance, and construction representatives.  
Navigating FEMA:
If you live in the following parishes, you are now eligible for FEMA assistance:

Acadia, Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberia, Lafayette, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. Landry, Tangipahoa and Vermillion.

The following are some tips for navigating FEMA assistance from our Senior Vice President, Camille Manning-Broome, a former FEMA employee who worked on long-term recovery in the wakes of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
"After working for FEMA during Katrina and Rita, I know how difficult it can be for victims to understand the financial aid assistance process. Please pass this along to anyone who needs help.

If you have flood damage, you should file a claim, whether you have flood insurance or not. You may be eligible for some assistance even if you have flood insurance. You should also file a claim regardless of whether you are or are not in a floodplain. You should apply if you had any damage. The process does not take a lot of time and at least you get into the queue to understand what monies may be available to you.
The more claims FEMA receives, the more informed they are about the extent of the damage.
The FEMA number is 1-800-621-FEMA and claims can be filed at https://www.disasterassistance.gov/. Click here to see the assistance, grants, and loans that FEMA provides for flood victims.

When people apply, make sure that they are very clear that they are not living at home now. If they are with friends and family then FEMA may not give rental assistance right away, whereas if they are in a hotel or other rental housing, they may be able to get rental assistance right away.

Individuals who do not have flood insurance and need a loan for renovations can apply for Individual Assistance (IA) and get low-interest loans through SBA."
Next steps:

"As a past FEMA employee and someone who has lots of friends that work there, here is the process that you can't find on-line.

After you fill out your online application, you will receive an email telling you that an inspection is required but it is vague (you will receive this shortly after you submit your application).

After registering an inspection will occur. FEMA sends an inspector to your property to inspect it and verify damages, prove occupancy (driver's license, utility bill), and prove ownership (title, or insurance), car damages (proof of liability insurance for your car, title and registration will be good to have on hand). Pictures of the damage should be taken prior to doing any work, if possible. 

Inspectors work neighborhoods and if the rest of the neighborhood is in similar condition, they will take that into account. If you apply for a low interest loan through the SBA, they will send their own inspectors. Keep pictures and receipts in case they want to look at those too."

What to do NOW in your home:
Please click here to download some great tips for homeowners with flood damage provided by Ryan Environmental here in Baton Rouge.
Additional basics:
First, you want to get everything wet out of the house, including baseboards and sheetrock. If you do this early, you won't have to take the walls to the studs. Unfortunately, there are no humidifiers in the city but you can purchase on Amazon (for those who have the means). You also need big fans to start drying and circulating the air flow so that you don't get mold. You can make straight cuts in the sheetrock and do in phases to see how much you can salvage. Most people start at four feet off the ground. Pull all the wet insulation out, keeping in mind that insulation may have soaked moisture higher than the waterline. This all depends on high the water was in your house. Most sheetrock is laid sideways and the division line is at four ft. Cutting there will make it easier to put in new sheetrock.
Volunteers for Homeowners

Homeowners in need of volunteers to assist in demo/renovation can call Samaritan's Purse Volunteers:

Greenwell Springs Baptist Church
19421 Greenwell Springs Road
Greenwell Springs, LA 70739
Homeowner Phone: 985-402-4350

Also, homeowners can always call 2-1-1, or check Capital Area United Way's flood information page.
We have also been made aware of assistance available for teachers through the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana: http://www.apeleducators.org/page/DisasterRelief
Additional Resources:

FEMA Flood Insurance Claims Handbook
FEMA Assitance to Individuals and Households
FEMA Registration Intake Video Tutorial
Louisiana Dept. of Insurance - Flood Recovery
FloodSmart.gov - After the Flood
FloodSmart.gov - File Your Claim
Louisiana Municipal Authority newsletter
The Advocate article - how to apply for help
Together Baton Rouge - flood survey
Apple store - photo timestamp app (one of many)
Copyright © 2016 Center for Planning Excellence, All rights reserved.

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