STOP-Repeal the duplication of benefits law for natural disaster victims
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The Great Flood of 2016 has changed the lives of many of our residents in the State of Louisiana, but especially in the Parish of East Baton Rouge. I represent one-third (over 130,000 individuals) of the Parish and 90% of my constituents homes flooded. This has been quite a traumatic experience, as more than 60,000 homes were destroyed by water. For the past year, I have committed most of my time ensuring that I provide information, resources and in-kind services to many of our fragile families, especially seniors and single mothers.
There has been an outcry in my community for additional resources for families affected by the devastating floods. Because of current law, Federal assistance cannot duplicate the benefits provided by other sources. Those who were steered toward government disaster loans will have those funds subtracted from grants. In most cases, this leaves these people with no grant at all. Individuals who qualify for federally funded loans should not be penalized. Many have been left with mounting debt, unfinished homes and little hope for the future.
In times of such adversity, I believe there is opportunity to revisit current law and find creative solutions to provide relief for those who by no fault of their own, find themselves in unforeseen circumstances.
As public servants, we have created a vision of a stronger Louisiana, but this vision can only be made possible by including a plan to fully recover the parts of Louisiana that are still hurting. We are relying on the leadership of the Louisiana Congressional Delegation, the Federal Government, FEMA and its collaboration with the State to come up with widespread solutions that meet existing needs that may remain unmet. Our neighbors in Florida and Texas will be faced with the same challenges as they begin to rebuild.
I believe that preserving a family’s integrity during this process is vitally important. I am calling on the Louisiana Congressional Delegation and the Federal Government because we need your assistance, now more than ever, to ensure that Louisiana’s recovery is fully supported as well as all states affected by natural disaster.
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