Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today announced he is approving a $4.6 billion plan proposed by the state of Louisiana that would offer up to $150,000 for certain eligible homeowners who agree to repair, rebuild or purchase replacement homes in Louisiana.
The Road Home Program created by the funding also aims to boost production of affordable rental housing for lower-income families; restore resources to meet the needs of homeless persons and families for housing and supportive services; and offer incentives to developers to construct attractive mixed-use housing developments (both rental and homeowner), particularly in the New Orleans metropolitan area.
“This plan is a significant step toward rebuilding new, vital neighborhoods in Louisiana and will help put out the welcome mat for folks to come home,” said Jackson. “HUD will continue to work closely with Louisiana to make sure the new communities that emerge will be places any Louisianan will be proud to come home to.”
Main parts of The Road Home Program include:
Assistance to Homeowners ($3.5 billion)
Louisiana’s Road Home Program seeks to help thousands of displaced homeowners whose primary residences were either destroyed or suffered major damage due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Among the requirements of the program, homeowner assistance grants will be based on the extent of damage and the owner’s commitment to repair, rebuild, or relocate within the state. Homeowners may also agree to sell their home to the state with no requirement to resettle or otherwise remain in their community.
Workforce and Affordable Rental Housing Programs ($892.7 million)
To encourage the production of affordable rental housing, Louisiana’s Road Home program plans to commit $892.7 million to help displaced renters and the labor force necessary to guarantee the long-term recovery of the state. This program seeks to develop up to 51,000 affordable rental units within mixed-income developments for persons and families earning between 20 and 60 percent of the area’s median income.
Louisiana’s plan also provides for special need families or persons at high risk for homelessness due to their extended displacement. The state intends to fund supportive services for approximately 1,870 housing units. The supportive housing units will both house and serve individuals and families with special needs, including renters returning to Louisiana after enduring months of resettling in shelters, hotels and other transitional housing environments. In addition, Louisiana intends to use its call centers and Homeowner Registry to develop a database of renters seeking housing so they can be matched with available rental housing.
Restoration of Homeless Supports and Housing ($25.9 million)
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita severely undermined Louisiana’s ability to house and serve persons who are homeless. Thirty-six shelters that assisted nearly 1,800 homeless individuals sustained considerable damage. As a result, Louisiana’s action plan commits $25.9 million to immediately restore and expand the state’s capacity to assist homeless persons and families.
Developer Incentives ($32.1 million)
Louisiana recognizes that in many hurricane-affected neighborhoods, special incentives may be necessary to stimulate the development of new, attractive mixed-income housing. As a result, the state’s action plan will provide $32.1 million to develop a “toolkit” of incentives to encourage developers to rebuild housing in areas that suffered the greatest losses.
The funding is part of $6.2 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program assistance Jackson allocated to Louisiana in January to assist the state in its long-term recovery efforts. Earlier this month, Jackson approved Louisiana’s first CDBG-funded plan that provides $368.4 million to meet the state’s infrastructure needs, to provide interest-free small-business bridge loans, and to lay the groundwork for the state’s homeowner assistance program approved today.
Jackson also called on Congress to quickly approve an additional $4.2 billion in CDBG funding to further support Louisiana’s long-term recovery and expressed hope that the state will devote significant resources toward expediting the return of public housing residents to the City of New Orleans.
Jackson added, “Any road home must include public housing residents who are desperate to come home too. I’m very hopeful that Congress will act to appropriate more disaster assistance to Louisiana and that the long-term rebuilding of public housing will be a part of the state’s effort to bring its residents home again.”
To read the full text of Louisiana approved action plan, visit HUD’s Web site.
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