Sunday, August 21, 2016

110,000 Homes Worth a Combined $21 Billion Are in Louisiana’s Flood-Affected Zones, Study Says

In this Aug. 15, 2016, U.S. Coast Guard handout photo, flooded areas of Baton Rouge are seen from the air. Click to Enlarge.
The first attempt to assess the scope of damage from the past week’s historic flooding in Louisiana has produced staggering numbers.

Approximately 280,000 people live in the areas that flooded, according to an analysis released Friday by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.  In those flood-affected areas are 110,000 homes worth a combined $20.7 billion and more than 7,000 businesses — about one in every five businesses in the region — that together employ more than 73,000 people.

The figures underscore two of the biggest challenges that families as well as local, state and federal officials face as they work to recover from the unprecedented flooding:  How to house those left suddenly homeless, and how to pay for the recovery.

“It doesn’t matter what color you are, what you drive, how much is in your bank account. We all flooded,” said Jeannine Cockerham, a resident of Central, La., which took a heavy hit in last week’s storms.

State officials plan to release information by the middle of next week about how they’re going to address long-term housing plans, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said at a news conference Friday afternoon.  They are considering using trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but that decision hasn’t been made yet, he said.

In the short term, some displaced people — those who have been staying in shelters, in their cars or in hotels — are eligible for a federal program that will pay for hotel stays, Edwards said.

Those who have been staying with friends or family are not eligible for that program.  He urged those flood victims to go to a website,, to find available rental units.  And he pleaded with landlords to make any vacant apartments or homes available for short-term rent.

“There are people who desperately need access to your housing units,” Edwards said.  “I’m asking you to cooperate with us.”

Read more at 110,000 Homes Worth a Combined $21 Billion Are in Louisiana’s Flood-Affected Zones, Study Says

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