WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson this week asking him to waive regulations that threaten to severely limit the impact of the duplications of benefits’ fix just passed by Congress.
More than 10,000 people received disaster loans from the Small Business Administration following the 2016 flooding in Louisiana. Because of low-to-moderate income criteria in the state’s disaster recovery plan, HUD expects only 22% of homeowners to be freed from duplication of benefits’ regulations that prevent them from using federal grants to repay their SBA loans.
“We fixed part of the problem. Now we need HUD’s help in fixing the rest of the problem,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Secretary Carson came to Louisiana and saw the devastation that the 2016 flooding caused. I’m confident that he can help us overcome the limitations put in place by the state’s plan. Every single homeowner impacted by the flooding deserves this assistance to recover and rebuild.”
October 3, 2018
The Honorable Benjamin Carson
Office of the Secretary
Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th St. SW
Washington, D.C. 20410
Dear Secretary Carson:
I write to you today regarding the ongoing recovery from the historic flooding that devastated Louisiana in 2016 and urge you to waive low-to-moderate income (LMI) criteria associated with Congress’ recently-passed lifting of duplication of benefits policy for disaster recovery.
As you are aware, Congress passed legislation to eliminate federal duplication of benefits restrictions directly affecting homeowners approved for or having drawn down SBA disaster loans as they seek to rebuild. Soon, this legislation will be signed into law by President Trump. Once signed, this legislation will permit homeowners who qualified for SBA loans but were prohibited from seeking Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to either repay their SBA disaster loans with a grant or use it to supplement assistance for recovery purposes.
The Small Businesses Administration (SBA) Office of Disaster Assistance has confirmed that there are 10,947 active disaster loans in Louisiana. I am concerned that applying LMI rules through the State of Louisiana’s plan will significantly limit the number of loans eligible to receive CDBG-DR funds. Furthermore, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) officials estimate that only 22% of all active loans, or about 2,408 Louisianians, will be eligible for additional assistance under the duplication of benefits fix. Waiving the LMI criteria would ensure that more Louisiana families qualify and receive relief under the new provisions. I believe, through the generosity of the American taxpayer, the Restore Louisiana program has more than enough funding to help everyone adversely impacted by duplication of benefits policy in the state.
I am reassured that after nearly two years of work on this particular issue with you and the Trump Administration, we are close to finally cutting this bureaucratic red-tape that has plagued the recovery efforts of families and communities in Louisiana. Thank you for all of your leadership and continued work on important issues affecting the United States of America.
United States Senator