Financial assistance slow to get to north Baton Rouge after August flood, report says

    Resources and monetary support, from both the federal government and nonprofit organizations, have taken longer to arrive in north Baton Rouge areas affected by the August flood than in other parts of the city, according to a report released today by urban renewal nonprofit MetroMorphosis.

    A majority of north Baton Rouge residents whose homes flooded in August say they haven’t been able to return and have not received assistance from nonprofit agencies. Although 68% did receive assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or other agencies, they say the funds are not enough to rebuild their homes.

    MetroMorphosis sent trained volunteers to canvass some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods in north Baton Rouge to assess how the city’s low-income areas were recovering, the report explains. Information was collected from Sept. 8-24 from 165 men and women living in north Baton Rouge.

    “The relatively lower socioeconomic status of households in north Baton Rouge presents those impacted by the flood with a particularly unique set of challenges when it comes to the recovery process,” the report states. “Residents may be more likely to rely on assistance from FEMA, nonprofits, and other agencies to meet basic needs and to support rebuilding efforts.”

    The group found that 72% of the people surveyed received one to four feet of water in their homes and 58% had yet to return to their homes weeks after the flooding.

    The vast majority of respondents were homeowners.

    While 87% sought assistance from FEMA or other agencies, 68% actually received assistance from those agencies. In terms of nonprofit support, 67% of north Baton Rouge residents surveyed say they have not received help from nonprofits.

    “Many north Baton Rouge residents do not have a network of support and access to additional resources that have been afforded to other area residents affected by the flood,” the report states. “The more widely available and traditional resources, such as governmental support from FEMA, monetary assistance, help from nonprofits, etc., have been slower to arrive for north Baton Rouge residents.”

    As a result of the devastating flood and uncertainty surrounding recovery, the survey also reports that 82% of north Baton Rouge residents say they feel more anxious and stressed, proving the recovery process is both physically and mentally taxing.

    “Future investment in counseling and mental health support in north Baton Rouge should also be explored,” the report states.

    —Annie Ourso

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