More than two years after August 2016 flood, Louisiana flood victims filed suit today in federal court, arguing the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development is violating the law by holding up grant money, according to lawsuit filed by the Baton Rouge-based Whaley Law Firm.
Last year, Congress passed a law, signed by the president, declaring disaster victims may receive both disaster grants and SBA loan assistance to rebuild their homes, which was previously labeled a duplication of benefits.
The lawsuit, filed in the Middle District of Louisiana, asks the court to rule that HUD must follow the law as passed by Congress without further delay.
J.R. Whaley, one of the lawyers representing the flood victims, says that the lawsuit was necessary because his clients, who were not individually named, are stuck with paying a note on a $280,000 SBA loan that would be reduced if they were provided access to grant funds.
If successful, not only will the individual plaintiffs be allowed immediate access to grant funds, but so will other Louisiana flood victims, as well as those recently impacted by natural disasters in Texas, Florida, and North Carolina.
Congressman Garret Graves issued a statement this afternoon, saying: “The word frustrating hardly conveys what our flood victims have had to endure, and this suit complements our ongoing efforts to get flood victims their money.”
Graves added that the situation leading up the lawsuit is “nothing more than bureaucracy at its worst,” dragging out the process, causing homes to be foreclosed upon and more people to struggle.