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Here are three important things you need to remember:
You can call (225) 346-4119 to talk about trailers with FEMA.
If you qualify, you can get free legal help from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS).
To apply for help, you can:
Other Online Disaster Legal Resources:
To stay up to date with news and deadlines, visit our blog: https://slls.org/blog/
FEMA only charges by full months. FEMA will charge you for a whole month even if you leave in the middle of the month.
OPTION 1: MOVE OUT OF THE FEMA TRAILER
Schedule and prepare to move out by May 31, 2023
OPTION 2: APPEAL
File an appeal requesting a lowered rent amount
To avoid paying the higher rents, you must move out and surrender possession of the FEMA unit by May 31, 2023.
You can appeal and request that rent be lowered based on your household’s ability to pay:
Do not send your appeal through your FEMA online portal or to the FEMA fax line!
Things are being handled locally in Baton Rouge. You should send the documents here:
Attention: FEMA Direct Housing
1500 Main Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Have questions for FEMA? Call (225) 346-4119.
You can choose to pay the higher rent or continue paying the lower $50/month rent amount while waiting for the appeal.
However, if you lose, you will owe the difference back to FEMA. Your appeal outcome will be mailed and hand-delivered to you at the FEMA unit.
FEMA only charges for full months! Rent is never “prorated” by FEMA. FEMA will charge you for another month if you are late moving out or with an inspection. FEMA will charge you like you stayed the entire month.
National Disaster Legal Aid Resources Center at www.disasterlegalaid.org.
To remain current with this and other important updates or deadlines, please visit our blog: https://slls.org/blog/
Update: You only need to have received $5,000 in home repair assistance from FEMA to qualify for Restore Louisiana! There are new Restore Mobile locations and events too!
Additionally, they are having in-person events. You can find information here: https://www.restore.la.gov/events
Am I eligible?
All these things must be true for you to get this aid:
For more information on eligibility and how the program works, refer to our previous blog post here: https://slls.org/restore-louisiana/
Are you a survivor of Hurricane Ida? Is there a problem with your help from FEMA?
The deadline has been extended to June 1, 2023 to appeal FEMA Denials!
Here are some examples of issues you can try to fix with FEMA:
You can file an appeal if you have any of these issues or if you have new evidence to show FEMA.
You can file an appeal even if the deadlines have passed on your paperwork. With the appeal, give FEMA the reason why you are late.
Your appeal must be in by June 1, 2023.**
If you need help with an appeal or other Hurricane Ida issue, please call Southeast Louisiana Legal Services at 1 (844) 244-7871
** In some cases, you can file an appeal in Federal Court after this date, but we advise caution. We recommend consulting with an attorney if you need to appeal FEMA’s decision higher.
Did Road Home sue you?
Was the suit about an Elevation Grant?
Is the suit still active, or do you still owe money?
If the State of Louisiana, Office of Community Development (OCD) sued you after getting up to $30,000 from Road Home to elevate your home, there is important news.
On February 16, 2023, the State, OCD, and federal agency (HUD) announced that all lawsuits to return these funds would be dropped. Soon you or your attorney should be notified by OCD about this news.
The State will stop all collection on these Road Home grants. If a lien was placed on your property because of the suit, the State will release and remove it.
You will not get back any money you already paid. But if you are on a monthly repayment plan, you can stop making payments now.
You can learn more:
Did FEMA give you a trailer or camper after Hurricane Ida? Are you still living in a FEMA Trailer or Camper?
This post does not apply to trailers from the state of Louisiana, only trailers from FEMA.
If you are still in a FEMA trailer, you should know the following:
|FY 2022 Very Low-Income (50%) Limit (VLIL)|
|Median Family Income||1 Person||2 Person||3 Person||4 Person||5 Person||6 Person||7 Person||8 Person|
If you cannot afford the FEMA rent, have questions about FEMA rent, or will be put out of a FEMA trailer, call 1-844-244-7871 to see if Southeast Louisiana Legal Services can help.
Please note that if you reside in a camper provided by the State Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Ida Sheltering Program (NOT FEMA), there is no plan to charge you rent.
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.
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.
The Self-Declarative statement must include these things:
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.
Include a signed statement from the commercial or mobile home park owner if you can.
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.
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]
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.
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:
Or apply online here.
We also help with:
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:
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.
Did a contractor take your money without doing repairs you paid for or by doing terrible work?
Contractor fraud occurs if:
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:
Any of these three things count as “major and severe” damage:
How do I show contractor fraud?
You must show all of these things:
You will need to give Restore Louisiana paperwork to show you reported the fraud. The program will want proof you did all of these:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is information about each choice – called a “Solution” by Restore LA.
Solution 1: Program - Managed
Solution 2: Homeowner - Managed
There are two choices under Solution 2.
Solution 2: Manufactured Housing Unit (or MHU) Replacement Assistance
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.
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.
 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.
What is Restore Louisiana?
Restore Louisiana helps Louisiana homeowners rebuild if their homes were destroyed or nearly destroyed by one of these three Hurricanes: Ida, Laura, or Delta. The Louisiana Office of Community Development (OCD) runs this federal disaster relief program.
Am I eligible?
All of these things must be true for you to get this aid.
Any one of the three things listed here should mean your home had “major and severe” damage:
How do I apply for help from Restore Louisiana?
STEP 1: Complete the Restore Louisiana survey that is administered by the Louisiana Office of Community Development (OCD)
You must complete the survey to qualify for the program.
Is there a deadline to complete the survey?
The survey is separate from the full application.
It’s easy to confuse the survey with the full application.
The survey is a required first step to see if you will be allowed to file a full application.
Don’t wait to send in your survey.
The program could decide in the future to set a deadline for surveys.
Again, the program uses the survey to see who will be allowed fill out a full application.
Keep the account ID, last name, and password you used when filling out the program survey in a safe place. You may have to use them for years.
After you do the survey, Restore Louisiana should start to send you text and email messages about your request for aid.
STEP 2: Completing the Restore Louisiana application.
If your survey is approved Restore Louisiana will text or email you to apply for aid from Restore Louisiana. That means you have been asked to send in a full application for aid.
You can fill out the Restore Louisiana full application on a computer tablet, or mobile device.
The application will ask you to log onto something called a “portal.”
You will enter the same account ID, last name and password you used when filling out the program survey.
At this stage you will need to give the program documents that show you qualify for aid.
Before you start your application learn more about what it takes to qualify for aid.
You may qualify for free legal aid from SLLS.
To see if you qualify for free legal aid from SLLS, call our Disaster Legal Services Hotline at: 1-800-310-7029, or apply through our website by clicking here.
For example, the Restore Louisiana program will look for a homestead exemption in the property tax records.
*For more information, see Restore Louisiana’s Flood Insurance Requirements flyer.
This means if you choose Solution 1: Program-Managed Construction, then you must allow the Restore Program to elevate your home.
If you choose one of the other Solutions, then you have to make sure your home is elevated.
* Call Restore Louisiana at (866) 735-2001 to learn more about elevation requirements.
What flood zone am I in?
See steps below.
You can also find this chart information on FEMA’s website at: https://www.fema.gov/glossary/flood-zones.
Here, you can find out what flood zone that you are in.
Here are the next steps once your application is accepted:
During the application process, you can choose a solution based on the progress in the rebuilding process and your capacity to complete the work.
○ If you have remaining work to be completed, then you will be asked to choose between Solution 1: Program -Managed Solution or Solution 2: Homeowner- Managed Construction.
○ If you have a mobile home unit (MHU) that needs to be replaced, you will be asked to consider Solution 2: Manufactured Housing Replacement Assistance.
○ If you seek reimbursement costs for partial or full repairs on your home, or if you replaced your MHU before applying to the Restore Program, you may be eligible for Solution 3: Reimbursement of expenses that you incurred before the application process and up to completion of the Program’s Damage Assessment.
Still have work needed on your home? You may want to look at the pros and cons of Solution 1 and 2 below:
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.
Solution 1 will assign a licensed and insured contractor who will 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, then this option 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 difficulty, or discomfort, for you. Also, you will be required to move out your belongings, 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 not be for you. Unfortunately, the Restore program does not provide moving and storage assistance. But it does cover rent.
SOLUTION 2: Homeowner-Managed
Pros: If you want to choose your own licensed and insured contractor and want to take more control over your home reconstruction decisions, you may want to consider Solution 2.
Cons: This option may not work for someone who has trouble keeping track of deadlines, managing money, or has other problems that would make it hard to deal with a repair or rebuilding project.
You must do some things to keep your grant under either Solution 1 or Solution 2:
You could lose your grant or be asked to pay it back if you do not follow the rules of the program.
* For more information about Solutions 1 and 2, see our flyer found here or Contact Restore Louisiana at (866) 735-2001.