The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

Did FEMA turn you down for not proving you own your home? FEMA can still help you even if you do not have official papers to show that you own your home, or have paperwork to prove you were living in your home near the time of the disaster.

FEMA usually asks for you to provide at least one of these:

  • The deed or deed of trust to the property
  • Bond for deed
  • Quitclaim deed
  • Bill of sale
  • Will or Affidavit of Heirship
  • A mortgage statement or escrow analysis
  • Homeowners or flood insurance documents, payments records, or bill
  • Property tax receipt or bill
  • Manufactured home certificate or title
  • Court documents about who owns the property
  • A letter from a public official
  • Receipts from major repairs or improvements within the last five years
  • Statement from trailer park owner that includes how they know you owned the trailer (like they had your ownership documents on file before the disaster)

If you do not have these papers, there are steps you can take to work with FEMA.

You can write something called “a Self-Declarative Statement.” It swears that you own the property. It explains why you do not have the paperwork FEMA asked for to show that you own your home. It must say that you are saying everything in it “under the penalty of perjury.” The words “under penalty of perjury” make it a crime for you to lie in the statement.

How do I write a Self-Declarative Statement?

The Self-Declarative statement must include these things:

  • Every page must have your FEMA claim number and the disaster number. Hurricane Ida is Disaster Number 4611.
  • It must list the address of your damaged home.
  • It must say how long you lived in your home before the disaster.
  • It must have your printed name.
  • It must have your signature.

The following is a sample Self-Declarative Statement. It has places to check off items or fill in information for your situation:

“I have made a good faith effort, in coordination with FEMA, to obtain and provide a copy of acceptable ownership documentation. I do meet FEMA’s definition of an owner-occupant because I: [initial all that apply]

____ am the legal owner of the home,

____ pay no rent but am   responsible for the payment of taxes or maintenance for the home, or

____ have a lifetime right to live in the home under a will or inheritance or ________.

I was unable to obtain this documentation because:

[provide an explanation of why other documents listed above were not available].

I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.”

[sign your name and the date]

If the property was inherited, instead of the three options to check off above, include, if true:

“As the nearest relative of the deceased in the line of succession, my ownership includes all the rights and obligations of the deceased.  The decedent’s name is ______, who died on _______. I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.”

[Sign your name and the date]

If the property was inherited and you are not the nearest relative, include a similar substitute paragraph explaining how you came to inherit the property.

If the home is a trailer:

Include a signed statement from the commercial or mobile home park owner if you can.

For more information:

FEMA’s policy document about this is posted at https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/documents/fema_iappg-policy-amendments-memo.pdf

FEMA’s own staff often forget about this 2021 policy change.

Proving occupancy instead of ownership:

If you are attempting to establish that the property was your home at the time of the disaster (occupancy), not ownership, your statement should be something like this:

I have made a good faith effort, in coordination with FEMA, to obtain and provide a copy of acceptable occupancy documentation.  I was unable to obtain this documentation [provide an explanation of why you could not get documents FEMA requests or how the documents you could get did not meet FEMA’s requirements].

I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

[Sign your name and the date]

Do you need help proving that you owned or lived in your home?

Someone experienced in dealing with FEMA can help. If you went through Hurricane Ida, you might be able to get free legal help from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services.

To see if you qualify for free legal aid from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, call our Disaster Legal Services Hotline at: 1-800-310-7029, or apply at our website www.slls.org/get-help/client-services.

For More Information

https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/documents/fema_iappg-policy-amendments-memo.pdf

The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

Everyone getting SNAP will get lower payments starting March 1, 2023. Keep reading to find out what to do to make sure you get everything you should.

How Much SNAP Will I Lose?

Most households will lose at least $95.00 per month. Your household may lose less or more than $95.00 in March.

Many elderly people on Social Security  will remember getting only $20 in SNAP before the pandemic. Most of these people will return to getting only $20, unless they can claim new expenses, mentioned below.

Most other people will get a little more than what they got in 2019 unless they have or can report changes to the agency.

What Should I Do Now?

Make sure DCFS has up to date information about your income and bills. During the COVID emergency, DCFS may have given you extra SNAP without getting all of the paperwork and information it usually needs.

Act now to give DCFS the right information about your income and expenses. This can help make sure you get the right amount of SNAP in the future. Do not wait. DCFS may be busy and hard to reach once SNAP lowers in March 2023.

The items listed below can make your SNAP amount go up or down. The list says what information DCFS may need for each item:

  • How much each person earns or gets in benefits (paperwork may be pay stubs, W-2 forms, income tax returns, employers’ statements, award letters about disability benefits).
  • Money spent on child care so you can work (paperwork could be things like bills for child care).
  • Money above $35.00 in medical costs paid to care for older or disabled household members (paperwork may include medical bills).
  • Child support you pay (paperwork may include wage withholding statements and court orders).
  • Rent or mortgage costs (paperwork includes things your lease or promissory note).

There are websites that can help you figure out how much your SNAP amount should be. Use only trustworthy sites. Here is a site you can use: http://www.nolafoodpolicy.org/snapcalculator.

Come back to this blog post later for how to check what information DCFS already has for your household.

How Do I Give DCFS My New Information?

You can send documents through DCFS’ online LA CAFÉ system. You can use this online system at this website: https://sspweb.ie.dcfs.la.gov/selfservice/selfserviceJSPController?id=0.1772418717047336&tab=1.

The site will ask you to log into your LA CAFÉ account. If you do not have an LA CAFÉ account, you will need to set one up. You will need to create an LA CAFÉ profile and link your SNAP case. Once you log into LA CAFÉ, the site will show you how to upload your paperwork for DCFS.

You can also send your paperwork to DCFS by mail, fax, or by visiting any DCFS office in person. Keep copies of any paperwork you send to DCFS!

DCFS’ mailing address is:

Department of Children and Family Services ES
Document Processing Center
P.O. Box 260031
Baton Rouge, LA 70826

DCFS’ fax number is 225-663-3164.

Be sure to include your Case ID number or Social Security Number (SSN) on every page so DCFS can match your paperwork to your case.

The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

Did you live in Bayou Towers before Hurricane Ida?

Do you have things you still need to get from your unit?

Have you been told you cannot enter?

If so, we may be able to help arrange access to remove your belongings. Southeast Louisiana Legal Services is a nonprofit law firm looking to help disaster survivors. Call our Disaster Legal Services Hotline to see if you can get free legal help from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services:

1-800-310-7029

Or apply online here.

We also help with:

  • FEMA denials
  • RESTORE Louisiana denials
  • Heir Property, Successions, and Title Clearing
  • Contractor Disputes

Brief Overview

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) seeks the services of a consultant to assist in determining SLLS’s eligibility for the CARES Act Employee Retention Credit (ERC) and to assist in making an application if SLLS is determined to be eligible inclusive of a tax opinion regarding our eligibility. 

Introduction to SLLS

SLLS provides free legal assistance to indigent and other vulnerable people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. We protect their livelihoods, health, housing and families.  Through legal representation, we are able to assure fairness for our clients as they navigate through the civil justice system. SLLS works to combat the inequities and disproportionate impacts faced by marginalized communities of color. We are the largest nonprofit civil legal services provider in Louisiana serving 50% of the state’s poverty population in twenty-two parishes across southeast Louisiana. Pre-pandemic, Louisiana had the third highest poverty rate in the United States, the second highest rate of women killed by their intimate partner, the highest rate of mass incarceration in the world disproportionately impacting marginalized communities, was consistently noted as one of the unhealthiest states, and had the second highest rate of food insecure seniors. We have been struck by ten presidentially declared natural disasters since 2005’s catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, the BP Oil Spill, and the people we serve have been particularly hard-hit by the impact of COVID-19 due to our economic reliance on the hospitality and oil and gas industries and Hurricane Ida. 

Pre-pandemic, SLLS had about 100 team members on staff. We now have about 165 staff working from seven offices, staff embedded onsite with other partners such as hospitals, medical clinics, homeless shelters, domestic violence victim service centers, community colleges, and robust pro bono partnerships. We have almost 100 different funding sources though LSC funding is about 45% of our budget with another almost 30% from the Louisiana Bar Foundation.  

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

Purpose of RFP

SLLS seeks a consultant to determine the eligibility of the organization to receive the CARES Act Employee Retention Credit (ERC).  Should SLLS be eligible for this payroll tax credit, the selected consultant would then do all necessary work in order to complete and submit the ERC claim. A tax opinion to support our eligibility for the ERC is also required. 

Deliverables

SLLS seeks a consultant to conduct an evaluation of SLLS’ payroll and other internal documents spanning from March 13, 2020 to September 30, 2021 for the purpose of determining our eligibility for the CARES Act ERC.  SLLS’ 941 Payroll records and other finance records are easily accessible through our online database for the specified time period. This data will be made available to the consultant upon selection. Should SLLS be eligible for the ERC, the consultant will proceed to apply and submit our tax credit claim with the support from the SLLS team as required.  Additionally, SLLS requests that the selected consultant also deliver a tax opinion regarding our ERC eligibility to protect the agency.  

SLLS seeks proposals in this matter that does not exceed five pages inclusive of three references.  We request that all proposals include information on the applicable experience of the potential consultant especially in ERC consultation work for comparable non-profit organizations.  We request a cost estimate for services with the preferable compensation for a deferred payment structure.  As it may take up to 10 months for IRS approval and execution of any ERC payments, we request that all proposals offer an estimated timeline that would allow SLLS to receive the ERC by the end of 2023.  Finally, SLLS requests that all candidates are prepared to provide a proposed contract for this project

Inquiries/Contact Information

Questions about this RFP may be directed to Laura Tuggle, SLLS Executive Director, at (504) 529-1000 ext. 270 or ltuggle@slls.org 

Timeline

    • Issue RFP: 1/09/2023
    • Proposals Due to Executive Director: 1/28/2023
    • Award of Contract: On or By 1/31/2023
    • Project Implementation: 2/1/2023-6/30/2023 (May Be Extended as Needed)

Proposal Delivery and Due Date

Proposals are due on or before 1/28/2023.  Delivery of proposals should be made electronically to Laura Tuggle at ltuggle@slls.org with “SLLS Employee Retention Credit Proposal” in the subject line, pdf preferred.  If you have large file size items, please provide a file sharing link with instructions for accessing the proposed materials.

Evaluation Criteria and Award of Contract

SLLS may elect to schedule a conference call with potential consultants prior to awarding a final contract. Please include contact information for scheduling purposes in the RFP.  

Proposals will be evaluated upon the contractor’s responsiveness to the RFP, qualifications, demonstrated experience with similar projects, and total price quoted for all items covered by the RFP. Award of the contract resulting from the RFP will be based upon the most responsive contract that is most advantageous to SLLS in terms of cost, functionality, experience, and quality of past work. 

SLLS ideally seeks a firm that understands its needs as a nonprofit and legal services organization and is invested in our missions of achieving justice and social change by fighting poverty.  

SLLS reserves the right to accept or reject any and all proposals and to waive any minor discrepancies or technicalities in the proposal or specifications, when deemed to be in the best interest of SLLS. We also reserve the right to negotiate with all respondents to the RFP and reject any or all offers and discontinue this RFP process without obligation or liability to any respondent.

Cost of Proposals

SLLS will not pay any costs associate with preparing proposals in response to this RFP.

The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

You have rights when you buy a used car, truck, or other vehicle. The text below uses the word used “car,” but many of your rights apply to purchasing used trucks or other vehicles.

Know your rights when buying from a dealer or a private person. Some rules apply only to dealers.

Take steps to protect yourself and do your homework before you buy! Test, inspect and check the history of the car.

The Vehicle Information Number

Get the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for the used car you want to buy.

Keep the VIN in a safe place.

You can use the VIN to find out about the used car you want to buy.

The Test Drive

Take the car on a test drive. Drive the car on hills, highways, and in stop-and-go traffic.

Inspect the Car

Examine the used car you want to buy. Use an inspection checklist when going over a used car inside and out.

You can find used car inspection checklists in magazines, books, and trustworthy websites dealing with used cars.

You might want to hire a mechanic to inspect the car. You will need to pay to have a mechanic inspect the used car.

Find out about the used car’s history.

Get the car’s maintenance and repair records. You can ask for maintenance or repair records from the owner, the dealer, or the repair shop.

Check out reviews of the car’s history. Use only reliable websites or trustworthy databases.

Below is a government website that can tell you more about the used car you want to buy and the legal title for the car.

Check for recalls

The federal government uses a “recall” to tell the public about car safety problems.

Find out before you buy if there is a recall on the car you want. You can use the VIN to find out if the car has a recall.

You can ask the dealer if the car has a recall. If there is a recall on the used car you want, you can find out if it was fixed. Do not rely on what the dealer says; use the car’s VIN to check for recalls yourself.

Enter the VIN on this website: https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls. You can also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

If there is a recall, ask the dealer to fix it or give you proof that the safety problem covered by the recall was fixed.  Federal law does not require dealers to fix recalls on used cars. That means you might need to fix the recall issue yourself.

If you buy the car, fix a problem listed in a recall immediately. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns that all safety recalls pose safety risks. Unfixed recall issues might cause accidents.

Usually, a dealership that sells new cars for the make or brand you want to buy will fix a recall issue for free. This is another thing to check before you buy.

Get a Fair Price

Before you buy or put money down, find out what the car is worth. Only talk about the price once you have an idea of a fair price for that car.

There are free websites with pricing information for used cars. Here are some examples of sites with used car prices:

Find out the costs to own and maintain the car.

The cost of owning a used car includes repairs and regular maintenance. Use trustworthy websites to find out how reliable the make and model of the used car might be.

Some sites can tell you what repair problems happen with the type of car you want.

  • You can learn more from the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) (https://vehiclehistory.bja.ojp.gov/). NMVTIS has information about a car’s title, odometer data, and damage history. Expect to pay a small fee for each report.
  • The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) (https://www.nicb.org/vincheck) has a free database that includes flood damage, insurance claims, and other information.

You can use the VIN to get this information and search online for companies that sell vehicle history reports. If the report isn’t recent or it seems that things are missing or untrue, the information may not be complete. You may want to get a second report from a different reporting company. Some dealer websites have links to free reports.

The Buyer’s Guide

The Federal Trade Commission, or “FTC,” is a government agency with rules about car sales, including used car sales. One rule says dealers must post a Buyer’s Guide on every car for sale.

  • Dealers selling fewer than six vehicles a year do not need to post a Buyer’s Guide.
  • Dealers do not need to post a guide for motorcycles and most recreational vehicles.

The Buyer’s Guide is important and must tell you these things:

  • If the car is sold “as is” or with a warranty.
  • What percent of repair costs will a dealer pay under warranty?
  • A warning that spoken promises (meaning promises not in writing) are hard to enforce.
  • A warning to get all promises in writing.
  • A warning to keep the Buyers Guide for reference after the sale.
  • A list of the major mechanical and electrical systems on the car, including some of the major problems you should look out for; and
  • A warning that you should get an independent mechanic to inspect the car before you buy it.

When you buy a used car from a dealer, get the original Buyer’s Guide that was posted on the car. If you can’t get the original buyer’s guide, get a copy of the original Buyer’s Guide.

The Buyer’s Guide must tell you if there are any negotiated changes in warranty coverage. Negotiated means worked out between the buyer and seller. The Buyer’s Guide becomes part of your sales contract.

The Buyer’s Guide controls if there is a different term in the sales contract. Watch out for language about Warranties. If the Buyer’s Guide says the car comes with a warranty and the contract says the car is sold “as is,” the dealer must give you the warranty described in the Buyer’s Guide.

Find out about warranties and what it means to buy a car “as is.”

Louisiana law does not give buyers the same rights as they may have in another state.

For Example: In Louisiana, car dealers are not required to give used car buyers a three-day right to cancel. Before you buy from a dealer, ask about the dealer’s return policy. Get the return policy in writing. Read it carefully. You do not have any automatic right to cancel the sale at all.

You only have a right to return the car in a few days for a refund if the dealer gives you this right. Dealers may describe the right to cancel as a “cooling-off” period, a money-back guarantee, or a “no questions asked” return policy.

Ask about and read the dealer’s return policy before you put any money down or buy the car. Get the return policy in writing. Read it carefully.

What does “as is” mean when buying a used car? Find out ahead of time what it means to buy “as is.”

In Louisiana, the sale is not “as is” unless the Buyer’s Guide says so. A dealer must check the box next to “As Is – No Warranty” on the Buyer’s Guide to sell a car “as is.”

What if the dealer says it will repair a car sold “As is – No Warranty”? Do not rely on what the dealer says. Get any promise about repairs to a car sold “as is” added in writing as part of the Buyer’s Guide. If you don’t get the dealer’s promise in writing in the Buyer’s Guide, forcing the dealer to keep its word can be tough.

What kind of warranties cover do and do not cover your used car?

Implied Warranties

If you have a written warranty that doesn’t cover your problems, you might be covered by an “implied warranty.”

When a dealer sells a car with a written warranty or service contract, implied warranties are included automatically. There are some exceptions to this rule listed below.

Louisiana law says that cars sold by dealers must meet reasonable quality standards. This is called an implied warranty. An implied warranty is an unspoken, unwritten promise from the seller to the buyer.

Warning: dealers can add terms to the sale to undo the implied warranty. Dealers can write a notice with the words “as is” or “with all faults” to undo the implied warranty.

There is no set time limit to act on an implied warranty. There is more than one kind of Implied Warranty.

The Warranty of Merchantability

The most common type of implied warranty is called a “warranty of merchantability.” This kind of warranty means the seller promises that the car will do what it’s supposed to do.

For example, a warranty that the car will run. The Warranty of Merchantability covers basic things a car is supposed to do but does not cover everything that could go wrong with the car. Breakdowns and other problems after you buy do not prove the seller violated the warranty of merchantability.

The buyer must show that the problem was already there at the time of the sale. A problem after the sale might not be because of a defect at the time of sale.

Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose

A ''warranty of fitness for a particular purpose” covers a sale based on the dealer’s advice that the car is fit for a particular use.

For Example, the dealer suggests you buy a specific car to haul a trailer. That means the dealer promises that the car can haul a trailer.

Any limit on an implied warranty’s time limit must be included in the written warranty.

What is a limited warranty?

Dealers may offer a full or limited warranty on all or some of a car’s systems or parts. Most used car warranties are limited. What a limited warranty covers varies.

A full (not limited) warranty includes the following terms and conditions:

  • Anyone who owns the car during the warranty period is entitled to warranty service.
  • Warranty service will be provided free of charge. That includes things like removing and reinstalling a system covered by the warranty.
  • You can decide whether to replace the car or get a full refund if the dealer cannot fix the car after trying a reasonable number of times.
  • To get a warranty service, you must tell the dealer that the car needs a repair covered by the warranty. An exception is if the dealer can prove you must do more to qualify for warranty service.
  • You only must tell the dealer that a warranty service is needed to get it unless the dealer can prove that it is reasonable for you to do more.
  • Implied warranties have no time limits.

If any of the things listed above are missing or excluded, the warranty is limited. A full or limited warranty doesn’t have to cover the entire car. The dealer may say that only certain things about the car are covered.

Some parts or systems may be covered by a full warranty. Other things about the car may have only a limited warranty. The dealer must check the appropriate box on the Buyers Guide to show if the warranty is full or limited.  Look for this information in the Buyer’s Guide.

The dealer must include the following information in the “Warranty” section of the Buyer’s Guide:

  • What part of the repair cost the dealer pays. For example: “Dealer will pay 100 percent of the labor and 100 percent of the parts...”
  • What things about the car are covered? For example, a warranty that covers the frame, body, or brake system.
  • The back of the Buyers Guide lists the major systems where problems may occur.
  • How long does the warranty last for each item covered? For example, “30 days or 1,000 miles, whichever comes first.”
  • If there is a deductible. If there is a deductible, how much is the deductible?

Can I review the dealer’s warranty before I buy the car?

You have the right to see a copy of the dealer’s warranty before you buy. Review the dealer’s warranty carefully to find out what is covered. Things to look for:

  • How to get repairs done.
  • That includes where repairs are done and who does repairs.
  • Who must carry out what the warranty covers
  • Check out who does the warranty work to see if others have reported problems with them.

What can I do if I have problems after buying a used car?

You can contact the local Better Business Bureau (BBB) in your area to see if they can help you solve the problem. In the Greater New Orleans area, the BBB number is 504-581-6222.

The Louisiana Used Motor Vehicle Commission “LUMVC” is responsible for licensing and regulating independent used car dealers. The LUMVC also investigates complaints about used motor vehicle sales, auctions, crushers, automotive dismantlers, rent with the option to purchase, daily rentals, and used parts and accessories.

The LUMVC only covers dealerships. The LUMVC does not cover sales between individuals.

How do I file a complaint with LUMVC?

You can call the office at 800-256-2977. Or you can fill out a complaint form found at: https://lumvc.louisiana.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Consumer-Complaint-Process.pdf.

The top of this form has information on where to send it to. Or you can file a LUMVC complaint online at: https://lumvc.louisiana.gov/complaint-form/.

Can I sue the seller if none of the above resolves my issues with the car?

Yes, you can sue.  If you paid $5,000 or less for the car, you could sue the seller in Small Claims Court. For most parishes, Small Claims Court is in the Justice of the Peace Court.

For more information about Small Claims Court, check here: https://lasc.libguides.com/c.php?g=583267&p=4027476.

In Orleans Parish, Small Claims Court is in First Parish Court.

If you live in Algiers, Orleans Parish Small Claims Court is in Second Parish Court. Learn more here: https://www.orleanscivildistrictcourt.org/first-city-court-clerk

Learn more about buying a used car on this site from the State of Louisiana: https://lumvc.louisiana.gov/facts-for-consumers-about-buying-a-used-car/

Below are our Top Ten Significant Achievements of 2022, made possible by your support and dedication to justice for all. Thank you for being part of our team! We hope we can continue to count on you in the fight for fairness.

Remember, you have until midnight on December 31st to make your 2022 year-end gift. You can donate now at www.slls.org/donations.

 

Sincerely,

Laura Tuggle

Executive Director

As of early December, 29,007 people received free civil legal aid from SLLS, resulting in almost $32 million of direct economic benefits thanks to the tireless efforts of our staff and the generous backing from our devoted team of donors, funders, and volunteers.

SLLS was awarded an almost $6.5 million Disaster Legal Services grant from the Legal Services Corporation to enable us to provide disaster legal services to families still trying to rebuild their lives and to improve our resiliency over the next three years.

SLLS, in partnership with the Louisiana State Bar Association Access to Justice Department, convened Louisiana’s inaugural Disaster Law Collaboration Summit. Over 200 public interest lawyers, emergency responders, disaster case managers, faith-based partners, librarians, and other community stakeholders attended the event.

SLLS was awarded $2 million from the City of New Orleans to sustain our innovative and award-winning Right to Counsel Program. This project has provided critical legal help to over 1,600 households composed of over 3,400 people. The White House highlighted it in its first-ever Eviction Reform Summit with remarks from visionary leader First City Court Chief Judge Veronica Henry.

We launched new projects in collaboration with community partners, including our Baton Rouge City Court Eviction Desk, new Heir Property Projects teamed up with Southern University Law Center and Louisiana Appleseed, and increased our capacity to serve vulnerable veterans in greater New Orleans and the Northshore.

SLLS team members received numerous awards in 2022 for their dedication to our mission, including the National Housing Law Project’s Housing Justice Award, the Capital Area United Way ALICE Award, the New Orleans Bar Association’s Mark A. Moreau Award, and a Louisiana State Bar Association Children’s Law Award.

SLLS returned to hosting our in-person fundraiser, the “Bar Exam,” and had our most successful event to date with strong support from the legal community.

SLLS and the Louisiana Budget Project both independently raised the difficulties clients faced with the state food stamp agency when SNAP renewals came due. The agency had stopped including paper renewal forms with its notices, instead seeking to have recipients submit renewal updates online. Clients without internet access had to call to either report information or request paper forms with an hour or longer wait time. This often caused people not to renew timely and to lose assistance. The agency responded to SLLS by agreeing to resume sending paper renewal forms out to recipients at the end of their eligibility periods. This returns the mail-in option to about 400,000 households and will help protect the most vulnerable from losing food stamp assistance.

Last year, SLLS intervened in the foreclosure of six properties with over 500 units of New Orleans’ most infamous slumlord, Joshua Bruno. We represented individual tenants and a group client, the New Orleans Renters Rights Assembly, in trying to improve the living conditions for tenants at the properties. To try to get out of the obligations we were raising, Bruno filed a Chapter 11 business bankruptcy in 2022. Business bankruptcies are beyond our experience. With the aid of pro bono counsel, SLLS followed him into bankruptcy court. SLLS clients and other creditors moved for the appointment of a Trustee to take over managing the properties during the bankruptcy. After a four-day trial, the Judge ruled that a Trustee be appointed to take over the properties. In re Westbank Holdings, LLC, No. 22-10082, 2022 Bankr. LEXIS 2109 (Bankr. E.D. La. Aug. 1, 2022). With our advocacy, the City also arranged relocation assistance and deposits for tenants of one of the developments. SLLS now seeks to go beyond the management change towards permanent redevelopment as safe, affordable housing. SLLS is also working to see that tenants who are unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy will get some compensation for their claims.

In response to a Councilmember request, SLLS provided information and comments to councilmembers on the New Orleans Healthy Homes ordinance during the drafting and amendment process. The ordinance passed on November 3, 2022, and will go into effect on July 1, 2023. Though lacking in many protections, there is an anti-retaliatory protection against eviction for tenants who make reports and then face eviction. We will be engaging in more advocacy on this right in 2023.

The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

Whether the law calls your mobile home moveable or immovable can affects your finances. This is because it can affect your ability to get loans and affects your property taxes. You may be able to switch the legal label for your mobile home from “moveable” to “immoveable, ” through something called an “Act of Immobilization.” Learn more about the Act of Immobilization document at this link: Act of Immobilization.

After recordation, the owner, or the owner’s agent, must file a certified copy with the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, who creates an Internet-accessible searchable database providing a public record.

You must also submit other required documents to the OMV. Find out more here on the site of the Louisiana OMV: Mobile Home Immobilization.

What kind of property is your mobile home? 

Louisiana classifies property as either immovable or movable.

Mobile homes are called movable property unless the mobile home is immobilized.

Immobilizing means the home is made a part of the land, both physically and legally. If made immovable, it is legally treated like land and other buildings on the land.

Here is how you can find out if your mobile home is already “immovable” property.

A mobile home is not immobilized if the land and the home are owned by different people. (If the mobile home is owned, but the land is leased, the mobile home is considered moveable under the law and is treated like cars and boats.)

A mobile home is not immobilized if it is not permanently attached to the land, it can usually be made an immovable property.

A mobile home is not immobilized unless an Act of Immobilization has been notarized and officially recorded.

If you do not know if an Affidavit of Immobilization has been done and filed you can search the parish land records, the Louisiana OMV database, and also.

The parish Clerk of Court’s office can tell you where to check for an “Act of Immobilization.” If you find an Act of Immobilization recorded with the conveyance or mortgage records, then your mobile home is labeled immovable unless there is also an “Act to De-Immobilize a Manufactured Home” there.

What if there is no Act of Immobilization or Act to De-Immobilize a Manufactured Home?

That should mean your mobile home is classified as moveable.

How to change your mobile home to “immovable” property.

You can sign something called an Act of Immobilization to have your mobile home labeled as “immovable” under the law.

Warning: If you sign this you are swearing that the mobile home will remain permanently attached to the land listed in it.

Converting a mobile home to a moveable

If you want to move your immovable mobile home, you need to change it from immovable to moveable. There are steps you can take.

The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

Not enough money to repair your Home after Hurricane Ida?

No help from RESTORE Louisiana?

Not enough money from FEMA?

Did RESTORE say your home wasn’t damaged enough?

Did you take the online survey? Were you told “your home does not meet the level of damage required for program assistance?”

If so, you may still be able to get help from RESTORE Louisiana

To get help from RESTORE LA, you had to apply for help from FEMA after Hurricane Ida, and:

  1. get $8,000 from FEMA to repair your home; OR
  2. get $3,500 From FEMA for personal property; OR
  3. Your home flooded more than one foot.

If you fall into any of these categories but Restore Louisiana says you don’t qualify, SLLS may be able to help.

If FEMA did not give you enough money, and you still need help fixing your home, SLLS may be able to help.

Call our Disaster Legal Services Hotline to see if you can get free legal help from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services: 1-800-310-7029, or apply online here.

The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

When Can I Apply?

Anyone can sign up from November 1, 2022, to January 15, 2023.There will be a similar sign-up period each year.

People with income under 150% of the poverty level can apply at any time. A chart below gives the 150% poverty levels.

Anyone can sign up for or change these health plans for 60 days after some big changes in your life. These are things like:

  • losing a job
  • losing health insurance
  • changes to who is in your family
  • losing Medicaid

Who Can Get Help?

As set out with the income charts below, different help is available depending on your income.

No one gets excluded for having a pre-existing health problem.

You may qualify now even if you could not before. Changes in 2021 and 2022 give more people low-cost health insurance.

But you cannot get this help if:

  • You get Medicaid
  • You have Medicare
  • Your annual income is under 100% of poverty (These income figures are listed below.)
  • You are not a U.S. citizen or national or lawfully present in the U.S.
  • You are in prison
  • You do not live in the U.S.
  • You already have “affordable” and adequate health insurance through a job. (This is discussed some below. The rules became more helpful in December 2022.)

The types of help available to different groups

The income figures below will be used for eligibility for 2023.

People with annual incomes under 100% of poverty

Persons with annual income under these amounts cannot get the special help with health insurance costs.

Number of People in Your tax household Annual (Yearly) Household Income
1 $13,590
2 $18,310
3 $23,030
4 $27,750
5 $32,470
6 $37,190
7 $41,910
8 $46,630
For each additional prson, add $4,720

150% of poverty

For incomes below this you can apply any time. People with incomes below this can pick a Silver Plan and have no monthly premiums. With the Silver plan they get help for copays and deductibles, too.

Number of People in Your tax Household Annual (Yearly) Household Income Monthly Average
1 $20,385 $1,699
2 $27,465 $2,289
3 $34,545 $2,879
4 $41,625 $3,469
5 $48,705 $4,059
6 $55,785 $4,649
7 $62,865 $5,239
8 $69,945 $5,829
For each additional person, add $7,080 $590

250% of poverty

For incomes below this, premiums are reduced, and with a Silver plan copays and costs when getting care are kept very low

Like other health insurance, you only pay part of your medical costs when you get health care or prescriptions. If your income is under 250% of the Federal Poverty line and you sign up for a “Silver Plan,” the costs you pay when you go to the doctor go way down. This only applies to Silver plans.

This can make silver plans better than the other plans (bronze, gold, or platinum) for people with income under 250% of poverty. Even if a Bronze plan may have lower monthly premium, a Silver plan may be less expensive for people under these incomes who use their insurance.

Read more about this special help for Silver plans here.

Number of People in Your Tax Household 250% Annual Income limit Monthly Average
1 $33,975 $2,831
2 $45,775 $3,815
3 $57,575 $4,798
4 $69,375 $5,781
5 $81,175 $6,765
6 $92,975 $7,748
7 $104,775 $8731
8 $116,575 $9,715
For each additional person, add $4,720 $983

400% of poverty

For incomes below this, premiums are reduced, so your health insurance costs less each month

400% of poverty is $54,360 for a single person, $73,240 for a couple. It is about $111,000 a year for a family of 4. and even higher for larger families.

A chart that includes the 400% income amounts is here.

Higher than 400% of poverty

Above those limits, you can still get a very high deductible policy if your health costs are over 8.17% of your income. This is called a Catastrophic policy.

There is new help for parents whose health insurance through the job costs too much

Starting December 12, 2022, there is new help for people with jobs, whose health insurance costs too much.

Check to see if health insurance though your job costs more than 9.12% of your household income. If it does, you are allowed to apply even though you could get insurance through your job. This insurance may cost less than through your job.

See if adding a spouse and children makes health insurance through your job cost more than 9.12% of your household’s income. If it does, then the dependents can get help with health insurance costs through the federal Marketplace.

For more about this see https://www.healthreformbeyondthebasics.org/rule-eliminates-family-glitch

How do I apply?

There are two options for signing up on your own:

Visit www.healthcare.gov or Call 1-800-318-2596

What if I need help signing up or finding a plan?

Go to this site to find someone who is not selling something, who will help you find a plan: https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/

You will need to agree to file federal income taxes for the years you receive the insurance.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I see how much this will cost?

You can get an idea of what a plan will cost you before you apply or sign up.

Go here: https://www.healthcare.gov/see-plans/#/?year=2022

Is there a deadline to sign up?

People with income under 150% of the poverty level can apply at any time. For everyone else, there are important deadlines. Do not miss the deadline.

Anyone can sign up from November 1, 2022, to January 15, 2023. If you sign up before December 15, your insurance can start January 1. If you sign up between December 15 and January 15, the insurance starts February 1.

You may be able to sign up earlier if you had some big events in your life. Anyone can sign up within 60 days of any of these events:

    • Getting married
    • Having a baby
    • Adopting a child
    • Losing Medicaid
    • Losing your current health insurance. (Even if you lost insurance because you moved.)

Coverage will usually start the next month

For more information about applying outside the usual November to January 15 times see https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage-outside-open-enrollment/special-enrollment-period/

If I sign up, am I covered for medical bills I already owe from being sick or hurt?

No. Health insurance will not cover a bill from before your coverage starts. Coverage never starts before the first of the month after you apply. Sometimes the delay is longer. For bills you already owe consider applying for Medicaid. Medicaid can cover bills up to 3 months before you apply.

People under age 65 with monthly income under 138% of the poverty line usually qualify for Medicaid. People in some other groups with higher and lower incomes who live in Louisiana can also get Medicaid.

This chart shows 138% of the poverty line for monthly income for different household sizes.

Number of People in Your Household 138% Monthly Income
1 $1,562.85
2 $2,105.65
3 $2,648.45
4 $3,191.25
5 $3,734.05
6 $4,276.85
7 $4,819.65
8 $5,362.45
For each additional person, add $542.80

When do I count my income?

The health insurance program counts your expected income for the calendar year. You are eligible based on what your income will probably be for the year, even if your income is higher or lower when you apply.Total income for the year is what counts

Why are tax households used?

To help make quick application decisions and reviews, IRS income tax data is used. So income tax rules apply to many parts of the program: what income is counted, who gets grouped together on an application, use of annual income, etc.

The one exception is for victims of domestic violence, as discussed below.

What kind of health coverage is this?

The insurance comes from private insurance companies. Money to help pay the costs comes from the federal government. This is part of the Affordable Care Act, or “ACA.”

The insurance is from names you may know, like Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, United, and so on.

Each company’s plans at a particular level (bronze, silver, gold, or platinum) must meet government standards for that level.

Usually, gold and platinum plans cover more and have lower copays when you get care. But for people with incomes under 250% of poverty, Silver Plans usually have the lowest cost when you get care.

Details can be different from company to company.

What paperwork do I need to sign up?

You need the social security number and income information for each person who will be on your federal income tax form next year.

Does my household include my spouse if I am a victim of domestic violence, domestic abuse, or spousal abandonment?

No. You do not have to file jointly and can still qualify for tax credits.

If you are living apart from your spouse because you are a victim of domestic violence, domestic abuse, or spousal abandonment and want to sign up for your own health plan separate from your abuser or abandoner, you are treated as “unmarried” in your Marketplace application. These people can say they are unmarried, without penalty for mis-stating your marital status.

For more about who is in your “household” for these insurance applications, see https://www.healthcare.gov/income-and-household-information/household-size/

The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

Contractor fraud from hurricane repairs? Restore Louisiana may be able to help survivors of Hurricanes Ida, Delta and Laura.

Did a contractor take your money without doing repairs you paid for or by doing terrible work?

Contractor fraud occurs if:

  • Your contractor did not finish work within 45 days of getting paid, unless the contract gives more time.
  • Your contractor damaged your home.
  • Your contractor did poor work or work worth less than you paid for.
  • Your contractor lied about permits or licenses.
  • Your contractor misled you to get the job.

If even one of these things happened, you may be able to get help from the Restore Louisiana program.

Restore Louisiana helps Louisiana homeowners rebuild homes destroyed or severely damaged. The home must have been severely damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Ida, Laura, or Delta.

Restore Louisiana can sometimes help homeowners who are victims of contractor fraud.

The Louisiana Office of Community Development (OCD) runs this federal disaster relief program.

Can I get Restore Louisiana aid?

Every one of the things on this list must be true to get the help:

  • You owned the home when the hurricane hit.
  • That home was the main place where you lived when the hurricane hit.
  • You still own that home.
  • Your income must be low enough to meet the guidelines. Different limits will apply depending on how many people apply. But the limits are set out here.
  • The government must find that your home had “major and severe” damage.

Any of these three things count as “major and severe” damage:

  • You had a FEMA award of at least $8,000 to repair your home.
  • You had a FEMA award of at least $3,500 for personal property.
  • Your home had more than one foot of flooding.

How do I show contractor fraud?

You must show all of these things:

  • Proof that you paid the contractor. Proof that the contractor did not finish the job. This may be photos of repairs not finished, a current estimate of work needed from a new contractor to finish the work, and so on).
  • Proof that you told enough government officials that your contractor committed fraud.

You will need to give Restore Louisiana paperwork to show you reported the fraud. The program will want proof you did all of these:

  • Filed a fraud report with the Louisiana Attorney General’s office
  • Filed a police report
  • Filed a fraud complaint with the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors

To find out more about Restore Louisiana and how to apply, go to https://slls.org/restore-louisiana/

If you are a Hurricane Ida survivor who has been the victim of contractor fraud, you may be eligible for free legal assistance with problems with Restore Louisiana and sometimes regarding contractor fraud.

To see if you can get free help, call the Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Disaster Legal Services Hotline at: 1-800-310-7029, or apply at our website here.

References

http://legis.la.gov/legis/Law.aspx?p=y&d=508538

A major purchase may come with a warranty. The warranty may come from the seller or the manufacturer. A “warranty” is a promise to stand behind the thing sold to you. The law says that you must be allowed to read what the warranty says before you buy.  The warranty law covers purchases in person, online, or with a catalog.  Warranties might cover a lot or a little. Look into the details before you buy. You may be given the option to buy an extended warranty. An extended warranty would cover some repairs after the regular warranty expires. Buying an extended warranty is up to you.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) tells people to look out for these things when it comes to warranties:

  • What’s the reputation of the company offering the warranty?

Look up the company’s name on the Internet.
Try using words like “complaint” or “review.”
See what other people think of the company or product.

  • How long does the warranty last? 

It depends. The warranty period could be days, months, or years.
Read over the fine print on the warranty to find out how long the warranty lasts.

  • Which parts and repairs are covered by the warranty? What things are not covered? 

If specific parts or repairs that are not listed in the warranty, you should assume they aren’t covered.

  • Will there be extra costs?

Some warranties make you pay for labor or to ship the product back for repairs.
This could be expensive for heavy items.
Again, read the warranty.

  • Are there limits to the warranty coverage?

Do you need to send in a product registration card to get warranty service?
Some limited warranties require that.
Other warranties only cover problems that happen when you maintain or use the product according to the directions.
Many warranties won’t cover problems that happen if you misuse a product or change the way it works.
Federal law states that a manufacturer can’t make you use specific parts and services to keep warranty coverage, unless the warranty provides those parts and services for free, or if the company offering the warranty gets permission from the FTC to make that requirement.

  • How do you get warranty service? 

You may have to contact the manufacturer for help or the seller.

  • What will the company do if the product fails?

The company could repair it, replace it, or refund the money you paid for it.

  • Does the warranty cover "consequential damages?" 

“Consequential damages” are damages the product causes.
Few warranties cover them, or the time and money you spend to repair such damage.

All the things listed above should be in the warranty document. Read the warranty before you buy. Keep a copy of both the warranty and your receipt of the purchase. If the purchase was online, remember to print a copy of the receipt. If any warranty is stated to you verbally by the seller, get it in writing.

Are there other types of warranties that you get when you buy something?

Almost everything you buy is covered by an implied warranty. This is so even if there is no written warranty. All states have implied warranties. Here are some common implied warranties:

  • "warranty of merchantability."

Merchantability means that the seller promises that a product will do what it’s supposed to do.
For example, a car will run and a toaster will toast.

  • A "warranty of fitness for a particular purpose."

This warranty covers what happens when you buy a thing because the seller said it is fit for a particular use.
For example, a seller says a certain sleeping bag is good for zero-degree weather.
That means the seller is giving an implied warranty to buyers that the sleeping bag will is fit for use in zero-degree weather.

In Louisiana, the main implied warranty is called “redhibition.” Redhibition covers problems that come up with the product that make the thing so useless or inconvenient that you would not have purchased it or would have purchased it for a lower price. Even if your purchase doesn’t come with a written warranty, it’s still covered by implied warranties. Big exception: the implied warranty protects you unless the seller gives a written notice that there’s no warranty, or the product is marked "as is".

What about extended warranties?

An extended warranty or a service contract is different from the initial warranty that may automatically come with a product. An extended warranty will cost extra. It may cover different issues than a warranty. It is sold separately. Before you buy an extended warranty or service contract, compare it to the warranty to see if you’ll get any extra benefits for the extra cost. You do not have to buy extended warranties.

What can I do if I have issues with a new product?

  • Try to work out the problem with the place where you purchased it.
  • If you can’t resolve the problem with the seller, write to the manufacturer.
  • Your warranty should list the address of the company that provides the warranty.
  • You may want to send your letter by certified mail and request a return receipt, so you’ll have proof that the company got your letter and signed for it.

Having a warranty doesn't mean you’ll automatically get a refund if a product is defective. The company may have a right to try to fix it before it gives you a refund. But if you report a defect to the company during the warranty period and the product isn’t fixed properly, the company must correct the problem, even if your warranty expires before the product is fixed. 

What can I do if I still have issues?

If your letter or emails don’t resolve the issue, report problems with a company to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov

You can contact the local Better Business Bureau in your area to see if they can resolve your issues.  In the Greater New Orleans area, their number is 504-581-6222.

Finally, you can speak to an attorney.

The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

If you have undone repairs or rebuilding work to do on your home, the Restore LA program gives homeowners two choices. You must first qualify for Restore LA aid.  To learn more about Restore LA see our other blog post here.

Here are the two ways you can use aid from Restore Louisiana:

  • Solution 1: Program - Managed (that means the program hires, pays, and oversees the company that will fix your home)
  • Solution 2: Homeowner - Managed (that means you hire, pay, and oversee the company that fixes your home); Solution 2: Manufactured Housing Replacement Assistance (that means that the program replaces, not repairs your damaged mobile home).

Both Solution 1 & 2 require that you meet the following requirements below.  If you do not comply, you may not be eligible for program assistance and you may have to pay funds back to the program.

  • Maintain communication with the case manager during the program. A case manager is a person who will be assigned to you, direct you to resources, and help you develop a disaster recovery plan.
  • Submit required documents.
  • Allow lead-based paint testing.
  • Allow inspections.

There is a third way to use Restore LA aid. That is called Solution 3: Reimbursement.

The third choice is for people who have money to fix their home. Or for people who have already installed a manufactured home unit on their property to replace a damaged home.

Those homeowners can try to get Restore LA to reimburse (pay back) what they spent to repair or rebuild, or replace a manufactured home unit, completed before the program damage assessment. This money is separate from other FEMA or insurance money.

Which choice is right for me?

Here is information about each choice – called a “Solution” by Restore LA.

Solution 1: Program - Managed

  • The state hires a licensed and insured contractor to manage repair or rebuilding of your home.
  • That means the state and the contractor call most of the shots for your home repair or rebuilding project.
  • You do not work directly with the contractor.
  • The contractor does the repair or rebuilding work, including hiring and managing the workers.
  • This can include demolition, planning, reconstruction, and permitting.
  • The state pays the contractor.
  • You do not get the money to pay the contractor.
  • The state provides a limited warranty on home repairs and new construction made by the program contractor.
  • The program will only pay amount based on allowable square footage, subtracting any other disaster assistance you got.
  • You can pick colors and finishes from choices available.
  • All materials are economy (budget) grade. That means this is not an upscale or luxury repair or rebuilding project. You cannot make upgrades, substitutions, or customize the work.[1]
  • You must contribute funds received from other sources (FEMA, SBA, or insurance payments) into an escrow account before receiving the grant award. These funds, too, will be disbursed by the Program to make Payments to the Solution 1 contractor.
  • Everyone in the home must move out of the home within 30 days after Notice to Proceed is issued. The move out is to allow the repairs or rebuilding to go forward on time. The state provides money for hotel and rental assistance during this time if you need it and have no other available housing. To be considered, contact your case manager who can help assist you in this process.
  • If everyone does not move out BY THE DEADLINE the grant can be taken away. That means Restore LA will not go forward with your repairs or rebuilding, and you will lose this aid.
  • You must handle your own move out. That means you must move out all of your things and store them if you want to keep them.
  • If you do not remove your things from your home, repair or construction workers will throw away your things. You can move your things back into your home only after the work is done and the home passes final inspection.
  • Any demolition and reconstruction are managed by the contractor.
  • You get to approve changes and should attend inspections. Changes may be needed in the event of drawing errors and omissions in the construction documents. Sometimes specifications are not clear or impossible to perform.
  • Direct questions go to your case manager, not the contractor.

Solution 2: Homeowner - Managed

  • All solution 2 projects require a LA licensed general contractor

There are two choices under Solution 2.

  • You manage project:
    • This choice means that you oversee repairs or rebuilding yourself by hiring, paying, and supervising the work.
    • Reimbursement payment made to homeowner after work is inspected and verified.
    • Remember to make sure you and your contractor know about this and agree to these terms in your written contract.
  • You hire licensed contractor:
    • This choice means that you hire a Louisiana licensed and insured contractor to oversee the project.
    • The state may issue a two-party check to homeowner and contractor after work is inspected and verified.
  • Contracts are between you and your selected contractor(s).
  • The state does not provide a warranty for Solution 2 projects. That means the state does not guarantee the work will be done correctly.
  • You should seek reputable contractors who stand behind their work with a warranty.
  • You must give Restore LA a “project completion plan and timeline” for projects of $10,000.00 or more.
  • You won’t get any Restore LA money until the repair or construction work is inspected and confirmed. Make sure your contracts allow for this, so your contractor knows what it takes to get paid for the work.
  • You are responsible for contributing all FEMA, SBA, insurance, or other non-profit  insurance and FEMA  funds previously received. You must report all of these before receiving an award. The program will identify all potential sources of assistance received and reduce awards by these other amounts.
  • You can work with contractors of your choice and choose your own building materials.
  • Note: The program reimburses for the cost of economy (budget) grade materials and finishes. So this means that you will have to pay the difference for higher grade materials or finishes.
  • Deadlines:
    • You must start construction with at least one inspection within 180 days of executing grant agreement.
    • Must complete project within 365 days of executing the grant agreement.
    • If deadlines are not met, you may lose state funding.

Solution 2: Manufactured Housing Unit (or MHU) Replacement Assistance

  • The state establishes maximum allowed for removal of a damaged unit, replacement of damaged MHUs and the costs associated with the delivery and set up of the new MHU.
  • If you are eligible to replace a damaged MHU with a new MHU, a damaged singlewide MHU will be $85,000.00. or less A damaged doublewide MHU will be $120,000.00 or less. The amount will be reduced by any other assistance you received from FEMA, SBA, or insurance. This amount also has to cover the removal and transportation and setup.
  • You must also provide the bill of sale which clearly states that Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for the replacement unit.
  • You will not get any money until you give the program proof of a contract to purchase and install a new (not used) MHU. Proof can be  a Purchase Agreement with an MHU seller.
  • Exception: If you have already received a FEMA MHU and want to purchase that mobile home, you may be able to purchase it, but only with FEMA’s approval and an agreement to purchase provided. To see if this would apply to you, first check with Restore Louisiana for further details.

SOLUTION 1: Program - Managed

Pros: If all this is overwhelming and you want someone to take the lead, then you may want to consider Solution 1. Under Solution 1 Restore LA will hire  a licensed and insured contractor to  handle the demolition, planning, reconstruction, and permitting through completion of the project.

If you struggle with keeping track of deadlines, managing your own money, or if you have other problems that will make it hard for you to keep up with a repair or construction project, or if it is hard for you to find a  contractor then Solution 1 may help  you.

Cons: If you chose Solution 1, you will be required to move out of your home. You   cannot move back into your home until notified by the program in writing. If you do not want to be displaced from your home, then this Solution may cause discomfort.

Also, you will be required to move your belongings out of your home, otherwise it will be disposed of as part of the demolition. If you do not have a place to store your belongings, then this option may cause difficulty. Unfortunately, the Restore program does not provide moving and storage assistance.

SOLUTION 2: Homeowner - Managed

Pros: This option gives you more control, though you will also have more responsibility.  Solution 2 may help you if you really want to pick your own  licensed and insured contractor and if you can handle  deadlines, contracts, details, and  find a reputable contractor within the time limits.

Cons: If you have an issue with keeping track of deadlines, managing your own money, or have accessibility barriers, then this option may not be for you.

Check out this video for more information:

Need more materials? Check out the links below.

*Contact Restore Louisiana at (866) 735-2001 for more details about Solution 1 & 2 reconstruction. 

[1] The program will make changes as needed for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations. For example, “If the homeowner has any mobility issues, vinyl flooring will be installed throughout the home. Flooring transitions must be such that a wheelchair/mobility impaired person can easily maneuver throughout the home. “ LA Office of Community Development. Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program. Version 1.2 last updated: April 2022, pp. 105.