Police Jury wants Congress to OK governor’s request for recovery funds
The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury is pushing Congress to approve Gov. John Bel Edwards’ request for $3 billion in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funding to cover long-term recovery needs for parishes affected by Hurricanes Laura and Delta.
Police jurors on Thursday approved a resolution supporting the governor’s request. It will be sent to Louisiana’s congressional delegation and President Joe Biden’s administration.
Parish Administrator Bryan Beam said Friday that the resolution is intended to keep Calcasieu and other hurricane-impacted parishes on the forefront of federal officials’ radar. He said approval of the funds hasn’t been as quickly as local officials expected.
“We are doing this now because we want to make sure we’re not forgotten,” Beam said. “We’re hopeful to maybe try to speed that process up. It’s important for us to push every button to make sure folks at the federal level hear our needs and help us recover, because it’s a devastating set of storms.”
Federal funding allocated in the immediate aftermath of the hurricanes paid for more immediate needs like roadside debris removal and temporary housing, Beam said. The Community Development Block Grant money can be used for long-term home repairs and to strengthen water and sewer systems from future severe weather.
Calcasieu Parish has already received $19.7 million from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to elevate homes in flood hazard areas. If the CDBG money is combined, it could potentially cover 100 percent of the cost for residents who experience repetitive flooding, Beam said.
Local officials are optimistic the CDBG funding will be approved, Beam said.
“We just don’t know the timing,” he said.
Because of that uncertainty, the Police Jury is working on a long-term hurricane recovery plan that includes input from the public and focuses on several key categories, like housing, infrastructure and economic improvement. The plan should be finished by the summer. To learn more, visit calcasieuparish.gov/recovery.
“That plan is what we have to have in place once the money is appropriated,” Beam said. “You have to be able to say what your priorities are. We are well along in that process.”
Police Jury building