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State and FEMA news:

FEMA Gustav Recovery Link

GUSTAV AND IKE TRANSITIONAL SHELTERING ASSISTANCE EXTENDED FOR ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS IN LOUISIANA

NEW ORLEANS - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), at the request of the state of Louisiana, is extending the deadline for its transitional sheltering initiative until March 2, 2009 for Hurricane Gustav and March 13, 2009 for Hurricane Ike. Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) provides temporary hotel/motel lodging for eligible applicants while residents make alternate housing arrangements or repairs to their homes. 

Temporary hotel stays were provided to 6,337 Louisiana residents following the two hurricanes and continue to be utilized by over 1,300 displaced Louisiana families.

“Hotel stays have been a critical tool to provide immediate shelter for residents that were displaced by power outages and damages caused by winds and rain. We are pleased that we can continue to provide hotel stays as residents work toward their recovery,” said Jim Stark, director of FEMA’s Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office.

FEMA reviews TSA participants’ status every two weeks to offer housing solutions and to ensure they continue to be eligible for assistance and that their transition to more permanent housing is done in a timely manner.

The intent of the TSA program is to provide lodging alternatives to evacuees who need a place to stay because they remain unable to live in their homes due to damage directly resulting from hurricanes Gustav or Ike. The program allows eligible individuals or families to stay in a hotel or motel for a limited time and have the cost of the room and taxes paid directly to the hotel by FEMA. Meals, telephone calls and other incidental charges are not covered.

 Applicants who feel they have a need for the TSA program need to call FEMA to apply or update their status in order to be considered for this program. In addition, applicants who may have initially been unable to confirm damage to their homes and have since discovered damage need to call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) to update their status. In all cases, applicants are encouraged to save all their records. 

 Applicants with other disaster-related questions may call the FEMA Helpline or visit www.fema.gov and click on Apply for Assistance for more information. 

 # # #

LOUISIANA RESIDENTS AFFECTED BY HURRICANE IKE HAVE ONE WEEK TO REGISTER

 NEW ORLEANS – Louisiana residents who sustained damage during Hurricane Ike have less than one week to apply for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The last day FEMA will accept applications for damage caused by Hurricane Ike is Jan. 12, 2009.

 Any Louisiana resident who suffered a loss because of Hurricane Ike should not hesitate to call FEMA’s toll-free registration line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY 1-800-462-7585) which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Residents may also register on-line at www.fema.gov.

 In addition to registering for assistance from FEMA, it is essential that residents also complete and return their SBA application by Jan. 12, 2009—even if they do not want a loan. An individual may be eligible for certain types of FEMA aid without completing and returning an SBA loan application. However, FEMA grants for items such as personal property, vehicle repair or replacement and moving and storage expenses cannot be provided unless an applicant has submitted a completed SBA loan application.

 Residents and business owners can receive information about SBA disaster loans and help with the application process by calling the SBA at 1-800-659-2955 or visiting the SBA website at www.sba.gov.

 Sometimes people feel their damage is not sufficient enough to warrant FEMA aid, or that others have a greater need. However, FEMA encourages all affected residents to go ahead and register. While FEMA disaster assistance does not generally compensate for an entire loss, disaster assistance may help pay for unmet needs—including some needs not covered by insurance.

 

 

 

HUD, FEMA Include Hurricane Gustav Families to Housing Assistance Program to Begin November 1st

MOBILE DISASTER RECOVERY CENTER OPENING MONDAY IN ST. MARTIN PARISH 

(St. Martinville, La.)-FEMA will be opening a Mobile Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in St. Martin Parish on Monday, October 6, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. for those who suffered hurricane damage.  The DRC will be open from 9:00am – 6:00 p.m. for five days or until further notice at the following location:

      St. Martin Fire Training Facility

     1035 A Ruth Bridge Hwy

     Breaux Bridge, LA  70517

Residents of Lower St. Martin (Stephensville & Belle River) can visit the DRC located at the Amelia Park.  The DRC will be open from 9:00am – 6:00pm (except on Sundays), until further notice.

     1109 Lake Palourd Bypass Road, Amelia, LA 70340.

Residents are encouraged to register with FEMA before visiting the DRC. There are two ways to register:

1.      Log on to www.fema.gov; or

2.      Call FEMA's toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Both numbers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until further notice.   

Residents must register for Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike separately.

In order to expedite the process, residents should have the following proper identification with them when they visit the DRC;  Social security number, insurance information, proof of address and contact numbers.

 St. Mary Parish

Amelia Park

1109 Lake Palourde Bypass Road

Amelia, LA 70380

 

Currently, DRCs are open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. except for the mobile sites, according to officials from the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

25 Parishes Added for More Public Assistance for Hurricane Gustav; All Parishes
Eligible to Apply for Hazard Mitigation Assistance

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that
25 Louisiana parishes affected by Hurricane Gustav are now eligible for
additional funds under FEMA’s “Public Assistance” program. Also, all parishes in the
state of Louisiana are now eligible to apply for assistance under FEMA’s Hazard
Mitigation Grant Program.
The parishes included are Acadia, Ascension, Assumption, Catahoula, East Baton
Rouge, Grant, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, La Salle, LaFourche, Livingston,
Natchitoches, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Helena, St. James, St. Landry,
Tangipahoa, Vernon, Washington, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana and Winn.
Those parishes are now eligible for FEMA funds to help with reimbursement of costs
associated with permanent work such as the repair of roads and bridges, irrigation
systems and drainage channels; repair or replacement of buildings; repair of water treatment
and delivery systems, power generation facilities, sewage collection and treatment
facilities; and repair and restoration of parks.
These parishes were already eligible for FEMA funds for emergency measures or debris
pickup. Now they are eligible for funds in all categories of FEMA’s Public
Assistance program. 
The program provides reimbursement funding on a cost-sharing basis to eligible
state, local and tribal governments and to certain private non-profit agencies.
The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides assistance to state, local and tribal
governments and to certain private non-profit agencies for actions taken to prevent
or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.
For the latest information on the recovery from Hurricane Gustav, visit
www.emergency.louisiana.gov

Federal Government Approves Launch of Disaster Food Stamp Program

Based on recommendations of local authorities, the Department is
shifting some operations from stand-alone sites, back to local Offices
of Family Support.  For Tuesday, September 23 the following locations
will be closed and/or relocated:
●        ST. MARY PARISH: Applicants who previously would have reported
to the Franklin Recreation Center and West. St. Mary Civic Center may
now report to the St. Mary OFS located at 604 Second Street, Franklin,
LA  or Sacred Heart Church located at 318 Third St., Morgan City, LA
●        ST. LANDRY PARISH: City of Opelousas Teen Center will close;
applicants will go to the St. Landry OFS located at 6069 I-49 S. Service
Road, Suite A, Opelousas, LA
●        ST. MARTIN PARISH: Magnolia City Park will close; applicants
will report to the St. Martin OFS located at 1109 S. Main St., St.
Martinville, LA
●        LAFAYETTE PARISH: Blackham Coliseum will close; applicants will
go to the Lafayette OFS located at Brandywine VI Complex, Suite 100, 825
Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette, LA

Deadline to apply has been extended to September 29, 2008
 

 

  • Previously Ineligible Individuals and Families May Apply for Disaster Food Stamps

  • BATON ROUGE – As of 3 p.m. today, more than 255,000 Disaster Food Stamp applications have been processed by the Department of Social Services. Nearly 30,000 of those were taken today. This comes on the day the USDA Food and Nutrition Services approved Louisiana’s request to give some individuals and families a second opportunity to apply for benefits after they were determined ineligible to receive Federal Disaster Food Stamps. “This is great news for impacted residents and we strongly encourage them to return to the nearest application site to apply,” said Interim Department of Social Services Secretary Kristy Nichols. “We did not want a quirk in the calendar to hurt families that need this help and I’m glad the federal government responded to our request so quickly.” Prior to receiving this waiver, DSS eligibility was based on all paychecks received during the disaster benefits period which started on August.29, 2008 and runs through September 27, 2008. Now that period has been changed to start and end one day later. This will impact many families who received three to five paychecks during that period and found themselves above the income threshold where normally that would not be the case. It will not affect families who have already applied, and received benefits. “We thank Governor Jindal for his leadership in making this possible for a number of Louisianans who were heavily impacted by Hurricane Gustav,” said Nichols. “The waiver allows us the flexibility to reach the goal of providing benefits to those families in need in Louisiana.” Disaster Food Stamp applicants are asked to continue to monitor the Department of Social Service’s website as well as news reports for the most current information regarding site openings and hours of operation. Participants in the regular state Food Stamp Program do not need to apply for disaster aid because any revised benefits will automatically be added to their current Electronic Benefit card. Individuals with disabilities can designate an authorized representative to apply for Disaster Food Stamps on their behalf. Also, each site manager has developed special procedures for assisting the disabled. Applicants with these special needs should make themselves known to the site manager or staff at the site. In order to help the elderly and disabled, Council on Aging staff members have been trained to administer Disaster Food Stamps. People 60 years of age or older should contact their local parish Councils on Aging for the nearest Disaster Food Stamp Assistance Application Site for seniors. If the local Council on Aging is not available, seniors should contact the Governor's Office of Elderly Affairs at 1-877-340-9100. For information about the schedules of the sites and to learn who is eligible to receive Disaster Food Stamps visit: www.dss.state.la.us or call 1-888-LAHELPU (1-888-524-3578).

 

  • The following sites will be open as of Sunday Sept. 14th:
    Alario Center - Jefferson Parish
    New Orleans Convention Center - Orleans Parish
    East Baton Rouge OFS - East Baton Rouge Parish
    Captiol High School - East Baton Rouge Parish
    E. Feliciana Parish Early Childhood Learning Center - E. Feliciana Parish
    Plaquemine Civic Center - Iberville Parish
    St. Gabriel Community Center - Iberville Parish
    W. Baton Rouge OFS - W. Baton Rouge Parish
    W. Feliciana Parish Parks and Recreation Center - W. Feliciana
    North Park - Livingston Parish
    Castine Center - St. Tammany Parish
    Amite Community Center - Tangipahoa Parish
    African American Heritage Museum - Tangipahoa Parish
    Sorrento Civic Center - Ascension Parish
    West Bank Reception Center - St. James Parish
    New Wine Fellowship - St. John Parish
    Blackham Coliseum - Lafayette Parish
    Allen Parish Civic ! Center - Allen Parish
    Avoyelles OFS - Avoyelles Parish
    Alexandria Mall (Stein Mart) - Rapides Parish
    Bossier OFS - Bossier Parish
    Caddo OFS - Caddo Parish
    Ouachita OFS - Ouachita Parish

    As of Monday, September 15th an additional 16 sites will be open to the public:

IBERIA: Operations will resume in New Iberia on Monday, September 15th at the Jaycee Bingo Hall located at 2551 West Old Spanish Trail (Highway 182 West near Darby Lane). Hours will be from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

ST. MARTINVILLE WILL BE CLOSED ON SUNDAY-WILL RESUME ON MONDAY AT 8:00 A.M.
(St. Martinville, La.)-The Department of Social Services announced that the Food Stamp Distribution Site at Magnolia Park, 100 Northside Park, St Martinville, La. will not be open on Sunday, September 14th, 2008.   The
Distribution Site will reopen on Monday, September 15, 2008 at 8:00 a.m.

  • Other Locations:
    St. Patrick's Family Life Center - Plaquemines Parish
    Christian Fellowship -St. Bernard Parish
    Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church - E. Baton Rouge Parish
    Pointe Coupee Multi Use Center - Pointe Coupee Parish
    St. Helena OFS - St. Helena Parish
    Community Worship Center - Assumption Parish
    Peltier Park - Lafourche Parish
    Bayou Centroplex - Lafourche Parish
    St. Charles Parish OFS - St. Charles Parish
    Bayou Black Recreation Center - Terrebonne Parish
    Kirschman's Building - Terrebonne Parish
    Acadia OFS - Acadia Parish
    Our Lady Queen of All Saints Family Life Center - Evangeline Parish
    Sacred Heart Church Hall - Morgan City, St. Mary Parish
    St. Theresa Catholic Church Hall - Abbeville, Vermillion Parish

    Rapides Parish OFS - Rapides Parish

    Applicants are asked to monitor www.dss.state.la.us as well as news reports for the most current information regarding site openings and hours of operation. Participants in the regular state Food Stamp Program do not need to apply for disaster aid because any revised benefits will automatically be added to their current Electronic Benefit Transfer card. Individuals with disabilities can designate an authorized representative to apply for Disaster Food Stamps on their behalf. Also, each site manager has developed special procedures for assisting the disabled. Applicants with special needs should make themselves known to the site manager or staff at the site. In order to help the elderly, Council on Aging staff members have been trained to administer Disaster Food Stamps. People 60 years of age or older should contact their local parish Councils on Aging for the nearest Disaster Food Stamp Assistance Application Site for seniors. If the local Council on Aging is not available, seniors should contact the Governor's Office of Elderly Affairs at 1-877-340-9100.

    For information about the schedules of the sites and to learn who is eligible to receive Disaster Food Stamps visit: www.dss.state.la.us or call 1-888-LAHELPU (1-888-524-3578).

    For the latest information on Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, visit emergency.louisiana.gov or call the state's emergency hotline at 1-866-288-2484 to listen to a recorded message with the most up-to-date information.

DSS changes Food Stamp distribution locations

Based on recommendations of local authorities, the Department is
shifting some operations from stand-alone sites, back to local Offices
of Family Support.  For Tuesday, September 23 the following locations
will be closed and/or relocated:
●        ST. MARY PARISH: Applicants who previously would have reported
to the Franklin Recreation Center and West. St. Mary Civic Center may
now report to the St. Mary OFS located at 604 Second Street, Franklin,
LA  or Sacred Heart Church located at 318 Third St., Morgan City, LA
●        ST. LANDRY PARISH: City of Opelousas Teen Center will close;
applicants will go to the St. Landry OFS located at 6069 I-49 S. Service
Road, Suite A, Opelousas, LA
●        ST. MARTIN PARISH: Magnolia City Park will close; applicants
will report to the St. Martin OFS located at 1109 S. Main St., St.
Martinville, LA
●        LAFAYETTE PARISH: Blackham Coliseum will close; applicants will
go to the Lafayette OFS located at Brandywine VI Complex, Suite 100, 825
Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette, LA


Updated site location info can also be obtained by calling 1-888-LAHELPU
(1-888-524-3578) and selecting Option 3. 
Applicants must have lived (as of 8/29) in one of the 31 parishes included in the
disaster declaration.  If so, they may apply at any DFSP site.  They should be
prepared to provide:  picture ID, name/DOB/SSN for all household members, and proof
of residency.  If applying as an Authorized Representative (AR) for someone else
they will need to provide the picture ID of the person for whom they are applying,
their own picture ID, a DFSP application signed by the Head of Household which lists
them as the AR or a dated & signed written statement naming them as AR.

If you do not already receive Food Stamps and you were living in one of the following parishes on August 29, 2008, you may be eligible to receive Disaster Food Stamps:  Acadia, Lafayette, St. Landry, Allen, Lafourche, St. Martin, Ascension, Livingston, St. Mary, Assumption, Orleans, St. Tammany, Avoyelles, Plaquemines, Tangipahoa, East Baton Rouge, Pointe Coupee, Terrebonne, E. Feliciana, Rapides, Vermilion, Evangeline, St. Bernard, West Baton Rouge, Iberia, St. Charles, W. Feliciana, Iberville, St. James, Jefferson, St. John.

To determine your potential eligibility:

Add your total combined income expected to be received from August 30, 2008 – September 27, 2008 to your available resources (cash on hand and all accessible bank accounts).

If the total is at or below the "Disaster Income Limit" listed below for your household size, you may be eligible for Disaster Food Stamps.

Household size

Disaster Income Limit

Maximum Allotment

1

2,079

162

2

2,707

298

3

3,108

426

4

3,663

542

5

4,033

643

6

4,504

772

7

4,770

853

8

5,183

975

Each Additional Household Member

413

122

This is only a guide to determining your eligibility and does not guarantee eligibility. Only an eligibility worker can make a determination of your eligibility.

Your application is subject to review by the Department of Social Services and the United States Department of Agriculture - Office of Inspector General.

If you intentionally conceal information or provide false information to obtain food stamps, you may be disqualified from the Food Stamp Program or be subject to criminal prosecution. You will also be required to repay all ineligible benefits.

 

FEMA May Repay Generator Costs Only If Documented Medical Need

BATON ROUGE, La. – If residents purchased or rented generators in the aftermath of
Hurricane Gustav, they must show that it was to support a documented medical need in
order to receive reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Residents must provide proof that the generator is necessary to provide power for
equipment such as kidney dialysis machines, apnea monitors for infants, oxygen
concentrators, respirators, ventilators and feeding pumps.
“We know life is extremely difficult for residents following this disaster,
especially if they don’t have power,” said FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer Mike
Hall. “We want to ensure that people with medical needs receive assistance and are
not put in danger because they don’t have a generator.”
FEMA will not duplicate the cost of rented or purchased generators that are funded
by other sources, such as Medicare, Medicaid, or household or medical insurance.
Federal law prohibits duplicate payments or reimbursements for assistance provided
by insurance.
The guidelines for eligible reimbursement, which are in effect for all disasters
occurring after June 1, 2006, are very specific.
Under these guidelines, anyone seeking reimbursement for a purchased or rented
generator must live in a parish that is designated as eligible for FEMA’s Individual
Assistance program under this presidential disaster declaration. These parishes are:
Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Cameron, East Baton
Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis,
Lafayette, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, Rapides,
Sabine, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St.
Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Vermilion, Vernon, West Baton
Rouge, and West Feliciana.
Residents also must provide proof-of-purchase or rental receipts dated between the
date the disaster was declared, which is Sept. 2, 2008, and either the date that
power was restored to the applicant’s dwelling or the date of the end of the
incident period, whichever occurs first. FEMA and the state will not reimburse costs
for generators rented or purchased outside of this timeframe.
In order to be considered for this and other types of  assistance, Louisiana
residents who suffered damage or loss from the hurricane are urged to register with
FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY 1-800-462-7585) as the first step toward getting
help.

Centers offer one-on-one small business counseling and SBA Disaster Loan application assistance

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Louisiana Economic Development (LED), U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Louisiana Small Business Development Center Network (LSBDC) and regional economic development partners today announced the opening of five Business Counseling Centers, created to assist businesses adversely affected by Hurricane Gustav. The centers, located in Baton Rouge, Metairie, Thibodaux, Carencro and Alexandria will provide free, one-on-one consultations with SBA customer service representatives and LSBDC counselors. Services include assessing business economic injury, assistance with SBA Disaster Loan program, evaluating the business's strength, cash flow projections and most importantly, a review of all options to ensure each business makes the right financial decisions. Louisiana Business Counseling Center locations are:

Louisiana Technology Park, LLC
7117 Florida Boulevard
Baton Rouge, La. 70806
225.218.1100

LSBDC Greater New Orleans Region
UNO Jefferson Center
3330 N. Causeway, Suite 422
Metairie, La. 70002
504.831.3730

South Louisiana Economic Business Assistance Center
629 East First St.
Thibodaux, La. 70301
985.446.6023
(active 9.12.08)

Enterprise Center of Louisiana
3419 N.W. Evangeline Thruway
Carencro, La. 70520-9000
337.896.9115

LSBDC at Alexandria
Dunbar Plaza Suite 114
3600 Jackson Street Extension
Alexandria, La. 71303
318.484.2123

Centers are scheduled to be open Mondays through Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For additional information on the state's Business Counseling Center locations or to sign up for e-mail updates on business assistance, please visit LouisianaForward.com/BizHelp. Louisiana Business Counseling Centers are not associated with FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers. To contact FEMA for assistance, please call 1.800.621.FEMA or visit www.FEMA.gov

 

The First Step to Recovery is a Telephone Call Away

BATON ROUGE, La. – A toll-free application telephone number and online registration
are now available for residents and business owners in 36 Louisiana parishes who
suffered property damage or losses from Hurricane Gustav beginning Sept. 1, 2008 and
continuing.
State and federal officials encourage those affected by the disaster to apply for
assistance immediately by going online to www.fema.gov or by calling toll-free
1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY 1-800-462-7585) 24 hours a day seven days a week until
further notice. Due to the high volume of calls during the day, officials encourage
residents to call late in the evening or early in the morning.
President Bush signed a major disaster declaration designating the following
parishes eligible for Individual Assistance: Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Assumption,
Avoyelles, Beauregard, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline,
Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, Livingston,
Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, Sabine, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St.
James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany,
Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Vermilion, Vernon, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana
parishes. Additional designations may be made at a later date after further
evaluation.
Officials remind affected residents who have already filled out damage report forms
with the state, their parish emergency managers or voluntary agencies that they must
register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the above numbers or Web
site to be eligible for federal assistance.
The declaration makes a wide range of programs available to residents such as
funding for temporary disaster housing assistance, replacement grants for serious
disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance.
When applying for help, applicants need to provide the following information, if
available:
•        Current phone number;
•        Address at the time of the disaster and the address currently staying;
•        Social Security Number;
•        A general list of damages and losses suffered;
•        If insured, the name of company or agent and your policy number;
•        General financial information;
•        Bank account coding to speed up assistance using direct deposit.

FEMA disaster assistance covers basic needs only and normally will not compensate
residents and business owners for entire losses. For those with insurance, FEMA may
help pay for basic needs not covered by insurance.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans for
homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes to repair or replace damaged or
destroyed property.
###

FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing,
mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic
disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding
of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of
all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts,
and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These
disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate
benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs,
applicants may call 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).

 

www.emergency.louisiana.gov  has all current info on open gas stations, road closures, curfews, shelters, parish re-entry plans, federal aid applications, FEMA, OEP contact information etc. can be found. 

As Power Returns, Need for Hotel/Motel Program Declines

BATON ROUGE, La. – As power is restored, fewer evacuees need to use the hotel/motel
initiative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Since Gustav’s passing, Entergy has been working around the clock with great success at restoring power to residents of Louisiana more quickly than expected.
Many evacuees initially declared eligible for the FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering
Assistance for Displaced – the hotel/motel program – on the assumption they would
lack power for 14 days, now have power and are no longer in critical need of hotel
housing.
Evacuees are encouraged to return home as soon as their power is on.
Fifty percent of the hotels in the affected parishes are damaged and closed for
repairs and there still are many residents with special needs, such as the elderly
or those with chronic medical challenges, who need shelter in hotels or motels. 
“FEMA and parish communities are working hard to meet this need,” said Mike Hall,
FEMA’s federal coordinating officer for this disaster. “We hope residents whose
electricity has been restored will help us free up rooms for those who have no other
place to go.”
All residents in designated parishes affected by the storm are encouraged to
register with FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY 1-800-462-7585) or online at
www.fema.gov.
New strategies are in place to identify those homes that continue to be without
power, and are expected to have no power for the minimum requirement of 14 days. For
people in that situation there are three steps to follow.
1.        Register with FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY 1-800-462-7585), open 24 hours a
day 7 days a week and available in any language.
2.        Wait two to three hours and call the FEMA Helpline a second time, choosing option
#2 to check on the status of the application.
3.        Eligible applicants will be referred to possible accommodations in the area.
Wait two to three hours before calling hotels and motels to check on the possible
openings.
For more information on the Louisiana disaster recovery, visit www.fema.gov or
http://www.emergency.louisiana.gov/.

 

LDAF announces deadline for producers seeking disaster assistance

BATON ROUGE -The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry announced today that all producers who wish to become eligible in 2008 for the Farm Service Agency's Supplemental Agriculture Disaster Programs must visit their local parish FSA office and fill out the proper forms by September 16. To be eligible for the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish (ELAP), Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Programs or Tree Assistance Program (TAP), producers must purchase at least catastrophic risk protection (CAT) level of crop insurance for all insurable crops and/or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage for non-insurable crops. Therefore, for the 2008 crop year only, producers who were eligible to obtain at least CAT level crop insurance or NAP, but did not, can "buy-in" to be eligible to participate in the applicable Supplemental Agriculture Disaster Assistance programs by paying the administrative fee that would have been applicable if the producer had timely applied for CAT or NAP. The buy-in fees do not provide any CAT crop insurance coverage or NAP coverage but do allow producers to gain eligibility to participate in the applicable Supplemental Agriculture Disaster Assistance programs. For the latest information on the recovery from Hurricane Gustav, visit emergency.louisiana.gov or call the state's emergency hotline at 1-866-288-2484 to listen to a recorded message with the most up-to-date information.
 

Louisiana Workforce Commission Announces Business and Career Solutions Center Openings, Extended Hours

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Workforce Commission announced today that its Business and Career Solutions Centers in central and north Louisiana are open and will be staffed seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist job seekers and employers.
In areas affected by Hurricane Gustav, centers are open in Bogalusa, Hammond, Lafayette, Lake Charles and DeRidder. These centers also will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. Centers in heavily affected areas will reopen as soon as electricity and Internet service are restored.
Mobile units, including four from Texas, are being sent to high-volume areas throughout south Louisiana to assist citizens with job needs. The first of these units will be in Baton Rouge on Friday, Sept. 5, at the Business and Career Solutions Center on Wooddale Boulevard. A schedule of additional locations will be issued on Monday, Sept. 8.
For the latest information on Hurricane Gustav, visit emergency.louisiana.gov or call the state's emergency hotline at 1-866-288-2484 to listen to a recorded message with the most up-to-date information.

 

BATON ROUGE – Today, a website with shelter locations and additional details was released.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=http://laearth.ohsep.louisiana.gov/kml/Shelters_2d.kml
 

Louisiana Department of State Civil Service Testing Center Damaged, Testing Canceled

BATON ROUGE -- The Baton Rouge Testing and Information Office in the Agriculture and Forestry Building on Florida Blvd. has sustained severe water damage from Hurricane Gustav. The office is closed until further notice. There will be no Civil Service state testing for at least the next week. Please monitor the Department of State Civil Service Web site at civilservice.la.gov for future testing details. For the latest information on Hurricane Gustav, you can visit emergency.louisiana.gov or call the state's emergency hotline at 1-866-288-2484 to listen to a recorded message with the most up-to-date information.

State government offices to open Monday
BATON ROUGE - Based on an assessment of state government facilities, Commissioner of Administration Angele Davis announced today a general reopening of state government facilities statewide for Monday, September 8th. All state employees should report to work Monday unless instructed otherwise by their supervisors on an individual facility basis to either not report to work, or to vacate their work sites due to electrical outages or damages. This message will be emailed to state employees and recorded on the 800 number and the local phone number, which employees have been notified to utilize to obtain information regarding office closures and re-openings. The numbers to call: 1-800-360-9660 or 225-342-0498. For this announcement and for all the latest information on the recovery from Hurricane Gustav, residents are encouraged to visit emergency.louisiana.gov. With the potential of Hurricane Ike entering the Gulf of Mexico, state employees should monitor the media and remain aware of all of these sources of information in the event of future office closures.

DOTD reminds citizens of 511 Traveler Information System
BATON ROUGE -- As citizens return to their homes in Louisiana, the Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) reminds residents they can get the latest updates on road conditions by using the 511 Traveler Information System.
Travelers can access up-to-date information about weather-related road conditions, construction activities and other critical incidents by dialing 511 from their telephone. The voice-activated 511 Traveler Information System is available to most wireless and landline telephone users. Drivers calling from outside of the state can access Louisiana's 511 Traveler Information Service by calling 888-ROAD-511 (888-762-3511). Travelers can also access this information by visiting the 511 Traveler Information System Web site at www.511la.org.  DOTD keeps the system's construction and weather-related information updated as reports come in from local agencies, parishes and law enforcement officials. For the latest information on Hurricane Gustav, you can visit emergency.louisiana.gov or call the state's emergency hotline at 1-866-288-2484 to listen to a recorded message with the most up-to-date information.

Statement on Federal Disaster Assistance for Louisiana
The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Louisiana and
ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area
struck by Hurricane Gustav on September 1, 2008, and continuing.
The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in
the parishes of Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Beauregard,
Cameron, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson,
Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe
Coupee, Rapides, Sabine, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist,
St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, Terrebonne, Vermilion, Vernon, West Baton Rouge,
and West Feliciana.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans
to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and
business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding also is available to State and eligible local governments and
certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis in the parishes of
Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Cameron, East Baton
Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis,
Lafayette, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, Rapides,
Sabine, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St.
Martin, St. Mary, Terrebonne, Vermilion, Vernon, West Baton Rouge, and West
Feliciana for debris removal.
R. David Paulison, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),
Department of Homeland Security, named Michael J. Hall as the Federal Coordinating
Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.
FEMA said that damage surveys have been scheduled and more parishes and additional
forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed in
the affected areas.

Department of Social Services Issues Early Food Stamp Benefits

Baton Rouge -The Department of Social Services announced today that the USDA Food and Nutrition Service has issued a waiver allowing the early issuance of September benefits to all households who receive food stamps. These benefits will be loaded onto Electronic Benefit Cards (EBT) by Monday, September 1st, 2008. This early issuance will enable Food Stamp recipients who are evacuating their homes to purchase the food needed prior to their normal issuance date. It will also ensure that immediately following the storm residents will have the Food Stamp benefits needed to replace food lost due to the impact of Hurricane Gustav. In order to answer any questions telephone lines at 1-888-LAHELPU are being manned to respond to inquiries from Food Stamp recipients and the general public concerning food assistance. The DSS Office of Family Support, area Food Banks, and the USDA Food and Nutrition Service are prepared to cooperate in meeting the immediate food assistance needs of residents in areas impacted by the storm through household distribution of commodities if retail grocers are not able to operate immediately following the storm. The DSS Office of Family Support is prepared to request permission from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to operate a Disaster Food Stamp Program as soon as possible to serve areas where retail grocers are operational following the storm. Disaster food stamps would provide immediate help for qualified residents who become victims of Hurricane Gustav. For the latest on Hurricane Gustav, you can visit emergency.louisiana.gov or call the state's emergency hotline at 1-866-288-2484 to listen to a recorded message with the most up-to-date information.

Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry completes plans for pet return

BATON ROUGE --The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) has completed plans to return evacuated pets and their owners to the evacuation pickup points in their home parishes. LDAF, working with the Louisiana State Animal Rescue Team and dedicated volunteers, ensured that pets and their owners with critical transportation needs were rescued from the path of Hurricane Gustav, said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain. "We evacuated 1,604 pets with their owners to pet shelters in Shreveport and Alexandria," Strain said. "200 cats, 1400 dogs, a rabbit, bird, guinea pig and a crab were evacuated well in advance of the storm." The State Fairgrounds of Louisiana in Shreveport housed 1,539 pets while the LSU at Alexandria location hosted 65 pets. "It may sound funny that somebody brought a crab with them but it just goes to show how responsible people feel for the animals in their care," Strain said. "We wanted to provide a way for everyone with pets and a critical transportation need an avenue to escape the storm." Strain said pet owners were allowed to bring their pets on the buses with them if they weighed less than 15 pounds. "Forty percent of the pets traveled with their owners on the evacuation buses," Strain said. "Most of the evacuated pets came from Orleans and Jefferson parishes." Strain said the evacuated pet population even increased when a dog birthed a litter of seven puppies at the Shreveport shelter. Volunteer veterinarian Brad Efferson of Shreveport said the mother and pups were doing just fine. "She whelped the puppies at the rate of one per hour," Efferson said. "The puppies are nursing just like they're supposed to." 266 of the evacuated pets were temporarily separated from their owners because human shelters were filled.  Strain assured those owners that their pets are being well-cared for. "We have a team of animal health professionals monitoring the well-being of all evacuated pets," Strain said. "They will be reunited with their owners as soon as possible." For the latest on Hurricane Gustav, you can visit emergency.louisiana.gov or call the state's emergency hotline at 1-866-288-2484 to listen to a recorded message with the most up-to-date information.

 

KANE Request Line:
(337) 367-1240

KANE Business Line:
(337) 365-3434

 

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