As Florida citizens prepared and then braced for impact with Hurricane Matthew, a storm of tremendous size and strength that loomed off the state’s eastern coastline in early October, President Obama took the anticipatory step of declaring a State of Emergency for the state of Florida.

This declaration allowed federal agencies to open an immediate dialogue with state and local government officials about the type and extent of federal relief that could be made available to those residents most affected by the storm.

In the days that followed, and as the storm continued its northeastern trajectory, the President’s declaration and the resulting relief efforts were extended to include portions of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

In Florida, those counties included: Brevard, Duval, Flagler, Indian River, Nassau, St. Johns, St. Lucie and Volusia. In Georgia, those counties included: Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty, and McIntosh. In North Carolina, those counties included: Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Hoke, Hyde, Jones, Johnston, Lenoir, Nash, Pender, Pitt, Robeson, Wayne, and Wilson. And finally, in South Carolina, those counties included: Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Darlington, Dillon, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Jasper, Marion, and Williamsburg.

In total, nearly 50 counties across 4 states were ultimately affected by Hurricane Matthew.

The President’s declaration authorized the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to initiate federal disaster relief measures under Title V of the Stafford Act, a federal relief act intended to provide relief in areas affected by natural disasters such as a hurricane, flood, tornado, earthquake, or typhoon. Its primary goal is to lessen the disaster-induced hardship on mortgagors with FHA-insured mortgages, provide such mortgagors additional time to obtain benefits under their hazard insurance policies, and help mortgagors secure available FHA insurance benefits.

On October 11, 2016, Julian Castro, Secretary of the Department of U.S. Housing and Urban Development, announced the agencies’ intent to offer foreclosure and other housing assistance to residents in affected communities. This assistance includes:

  • The use of HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs that allow states the ability to redirect substantial financial resources to address critical needs such as temporary housing, housing repair and replacement, and other related aid to the communities most in need;
  • The granting of a 90-day foreclosure moratorium and forbearance period on mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA);
  • Allowing the FHA to insure qualified mortgages to major disaster victims who lost their homes;
  • Providing loan programs that allow major disaster victims to secure financing to purchase or refinance a home that includes repair or rehabilitation costs in a single mortgage; and
  • Offering state and local governments federally guaranteed loans for specific public purposes such as repairing public infrastructure.

Servicers of FHA-insured loans have been provided with directives and guidelines for extending the above relief measures to qualified mortgagors. However, homeowners in disaster areas that are experiencing difficulties paying their mortgage are still urged to take the initiative and contact their loan servicers directly to discuss their eligibility for the benefits set forth above. Homeowners may be asked to provide documentation to establish that they qualify for a particular form of available relief.

A general discussion of disaster relief options available to FHA homeowners is available via HUD’s website.

To the extent a homeowner is unsatisfied with the outcome of those discussions, they are invited to call a HUD-approved counseling agency at (800) 569-4287 or contact HUD’s National Servicing Center.

The Flood Law Blog was featured in two articles in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans edition of The Advocate.

In the New Orleans Advocate, an article titled “Law Firms Use Katrina Experience to Help Baton Rouge Area Flood Victims,” McGlinchey Stafford attorneys Brad Axelrod and Jean-Paul Perrault discussed the blog’s roots in the firm’s experience helping clients after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and how the Flood Law Blog has helped serve as a resource for FEMA assistance and SBA loans.

Perrault is quoted in a second article, “Post-Flood Insurance, Legal Issues Dot Businesses’ Road to Recovery,” on landlord-tenant issues relating to commercial property that have arisen following the flood. Axelrod also commented on cash-flow challenges for small and midsized businesses following a disaster.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the City of New Orleans will host a September 15 workshop providing information on FEMA’s new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) that become effective on September 30, 2016.

Many New Orleans residents and businesses are expected to see decreases in their flood insurance costs due to improvements in flood protection and drainage in the city. According to a press release from New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the new FIRMs will affect approximately 85,000 policies in New Orleans.

Event Details

Thursday, September 15, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. Central

City Hall, New Orleans City Council Chambers

1300 Perdido Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112

Greater Baton Rouge Business Report has published four articles relevant to businesses after the Louisiana floods:

  • Preserving Your Brand After a Disaster is Critical
  • Landlords Have Obligations After the Flood
  • IRS Offers Resources for Reconstructing Lost Financial Records, Documenting Claims
  • The Latest Resources for Businesses

New resources available for Louisiana parishes affected by the flood:

Looking to help out? Here are some ways to send aid to victims of Louisiana floods:

Contact Information

Shelters

  • State of Louisiana Shelter List (updating continuously)
  • Jefferson Davis Parish Shelters (last updated Aug. 17, 2016, 3:20 p.m.):
    • None
  • Special Medical Conditions Shelter (homebound, chronically ill, or disabilities in need of medical or nursing care with no other place to receive care): Run by the Louisiana Department of Health on LSU’s Baton Rouge campus, Field House. Call (225) 578-6383.

Schools

Medical

  • Jennings American Legion Hospital, 1634 Elton Rd, Jennings, LA 70546, (337) 616-7000

Finance

Governmental Notices

Contact Information

Shelters

  • State of Louisiana Shelter list (updating continuously)
  • St. Tammany Parish Shelters (last updated Aug. 17, 2016, 8:45 AM):
    • Coquille Sports Complex, 13505 Highway 1085, Covington, LA
  • Special Needs Shelter Information: Call (985) 898-3074
  • Special Medical Conditions Shelter (homebound, chronically ill, or disabilities in need of medical or nursing care with no other place to receive care)
    • Run by the Louisiana Department of Health on LSU’s Baton Rouge campus, Field House.  Call (225) 578-6383.
  • Animal Shelter:
    • St. Tammany Parish Department of Animal Services, 31078 Hwy. 36, Lacombe, LA 70445, (985) 809-0183

Donate or Volunteer

Schools

Medical

Finance

Contact Information

News

Shelters

  • None

Schools

Medical

  • Avoyelles Hospital, 4231 LA-1192, Marksville, LA 71351, (318) 253-8611
  • Bunkie General Hospital, 427 Evergreen St., Bunkie, LA 71322, (318) 346-6780

Finance

 

Contact Information

Shelters

  • None

Schools

Medical

Nearby:

  • Acadian Medical Center, 3501 US-190, Eunice, LA 70535, (337) 580-7500
  • Oakdale Community Hospital, 130 Hospital Dr., Oakdale, LA 71436, (318) 335-3700

Finance

Contact Information

News

 

Shelters

  • State of Louisiana Shelter list (updating continuously):
  • Iberia Parish Shelters (last updated Aug. 15, 2016, 8:30 PM):
    • Cyr-Gates Community Center, 300 Parkview Drive, New Iberia, LA
  • Special Medical Conditions Shelter (homebound, chronically ill, or disabilities in need of medical or nursing care with no other place to receive care):
    • Run by the Louisiana Department of Health on LSU’s Baton Rouge campus, Field House. Call (225) 578-6383.
  • Animal Shelter:
    • New Iberia Animal Shelter, 2017 Seaway Access Road, New Iberia, LA 70560, Shelter Manager: Sonia Tauzin, (337) 364-6311

Schools

Medical

Finance