Last week, Governor Bobby Jindal announced that FEMA has granted Louisiana $177.6 million in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding to support projects to protect the state from future damage following Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

Of that, $150,000 is earmarked for Vernon Parish.




Last week, Governor Bobby Jindal announced that FEMA has granted Louisiana $177.6 million in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding to support projects to protect the state from future damage following Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
Of that, $150,000 is earmarked for Vernon Parish.
 “In the days following two back-to-back hurricanes that devastated many communities in our state last year, we saw the benefits of previous mitigation work, as elevated homes and buildings were largely spared from floodwater," Jindal said in a release. "We must now work to elevate even more homes, reinforce more buildings and structures and become better prepared for future storms.”
 After hurricanes Gustav and Ike, Governor Jindal named the Louisiana Recovery Authority as the state mitigation team for these storms, meaning it had to approve uses for these funds. At the recommendation of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), which administers HMGP funds, the LRA’s board voted Wednesday to approve priorities for this funding. The board set aside the majority of the money for parishes to support local hazard mitigation programs, which could include home elevations and other measures to protect areas of the parishes from loss in future storms.
 The state is setting aside a portion of the funds for state-run programs. The broad allocations are:
 ·        $33.3 million toward a pilot coastal restoration program and/or community safe houses;
·        $125.6 million to be split among affected parishes; and
·        $17.7 million to fund five percent state initiative programs, which typically are designed by GOHSEP to fill an unmet mitigation need.
 “Each dollar we invest in hardening structures to make them more storm resistant represents real savings for the taxpayers in the event of a future storm or future flooding,” said Paul Rainwater, executive director of the LRA. “By pushing these dollars down to local governments, community leaders will be able to incorporate safer rebuilding practices into their overall recovery plans and make informed decisions about how best to protect their facilities from future damage.”
 "The grant helps to establish a more resilient Louisiana especially for our coastal parishes. We're appreciative of the funding and will continue to work with the parishes in reducing hazards," says GOHSEP Director Mark Cooper.
 Based on post hurricane damage estimates, the state allocated these federal funds to 53 affected parishes, with Terrebonne Parish receiving the most of any one parish at  more than $16 million. 
Rapides is set to receive more than 4.5 million; Beauregard almost $300,000; and Sabine     $150,000.
The $177.6 million is FEMA’s initial allocation of HMGP funds, which could grow larger as the scope of the post-Gustav and Ike Public Assistance program grows in Louisiana.
 Unlike HMGP funds given to Louisiana after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, this HMGP funding comes with a requirement for local and state governments to pay matching costs, meaning the federal government pays 75 percent of the costs, with local or state government required to pay for 25 percent of the cost of the projects. Louisiana has repeatedly requested that federal government waive or lower  the state and local match requirement, given the scope of the destruction wrought by four storms in three years.