SLLS helps couple in Baton Rouge receive temporary housing assistance after their home gets destroyed by a flood.

Posted on: September 24, 2018

Mr. and Mrs. Trahan lived with Mrs. Trahan’s mother in north Baton Rouge. In 2015, they inherited the house after Mrs. Trahan’s mother passed away. Although they managed to survive on a small income from Mr. Trahan’s disability benefits and Mrs. Trahan’s part-time job, they lived check-to-check and were unable to put much into savings. Tragically, Mr. and Mrs. Trahan’s house was among the +60,000 houses destroyed by the 2016 Louisiana Floods. Fortunately, they were safe but they had no savings to help them rebuild. The Trahans received short-term temporary FEMA rental assistance but on their limited income, and still needing to pay monthly mortgage payments on their home, they struggled to keep their home out of foreclosure.

To make the situation worse, the flood insurance company refused to release the flood proceeds until a succession was completed for Mrs. Trahan’s mother. Then, FEMA denied an extension of their temporary rental assistance. The Trahans felt lost. If they lost both their temporary and permanent housing, they would have nowhere to turn and end up on the streets. Luckily, they were referred to the Flood Proof Project for legal help where an SLLS attorney quickly jumped into action.

We began working on the succession right away and got some of the other heirs to donate their interest in the home to help the couple concentrate title. Then, we got FEMA to overturn its decision to deny the couples extension for temporary rental assistance. Additionally, we negotiated with their mortgage and insurance companies to assert the Trahan’s legal rights as an heir to the property. In the end, the couple was approved to take over the mortgage and modify their loan payments after the succession was completed. While the Restore Louisiana program has yet to give the Trahan’s additional funding to rebuild, all of their legal problems were resolved and given them a little more peace of mind.

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