Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct the number of people initially available for flood aid. Four thousand people will be eligible and not 10,000. Daily Report regrets this error.
Displaced Baton Rouge flood victims living with family, in federal trailers and anywhere except their unrepaired homes for the holidays blasted the pace of flood relief on Monday as the state grapples with a deficit of needed federal dollars to help them rebuild.
Most of the roughly 100 residents who packed into a room at BREC’s headquarters Monday night were told that even if they wait until the first round of dollars to be disbursed, likely sometime in March, they still would not qualify for aid because Louisiana has received little money thus far.
“I don’t know who to blame for it, but we shouldn’t have to suffer like this,” said Vereta Lee, who is living in a Federal Emergency Management Agency manufactured housing unit with four grandchildren. She moved in after becoming fed up with the state’s Shelter at Home program.
The state is working with an initial $438 million payment from the feds to dole out mostly to Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Livingston, Ouachita and Tangipahoa parishes. Another $1.2 billion has been approved by Congress, but will not be disbursed until late spring. In total, that’s $1.6 billion in flood assistance for Louisiana—about $2 billion less than the state requested.