Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards’ Office of Community Development has received final approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Louisiana’s action plan for distributing an initial congressional appropriation of $438 million for residents impacted by last year’s historic flooding.

The action plan declared 56 of the state’s 64 parishes received a federal disaster declaration after the March and August floods.  A total of over 21,000 households have FEMA Verified Loss after the March flood.  The August floods resulted in the flooding of more that 91,000 households with FEMA Verified Loss.  The August storm claimed 13 lives.

The application process for qualifying families is expected to open in late March for construction assistance, according to the Restore Louisiana Task Force.  State officials estimate that residents with approved applications could begin receiving construction assistance as soon as April.

Application information can be found on their website at restore.la.gov.  Residents are encouraged to sign up for email updates through the website to stay up to date on all of the latest developments.

“This initial round of assistance is clearly not enough to meet all the state’s needs after last year’s devastation, but it represents a milestone in the recovery process,” said Pat Forbes, executive director of the Office of Community Development. “We are grateful to HUD for such a quick review of the action plan and for their continued assistance. The approval of the state’s action plan is the result of hard work from many people at all levels of government, as well as our great working relationship with HUD.”

The initial appropriation was secured by Gov. Edwards’ office six weeks after the August flood, and the state has moved into the final stages of an action plan for an additional $1.2 billion approved in December.

The seek for additional help is not over, however, as Gov. Edwards recently traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with members of the state’s congressional delegation.  According a Restore Louisiana Task Force report, the state needs an estimated $2 billion more for a sustainable recovery.