BATON ROUGE, La. — The Latest on Louisiana flooding (all times local):
The Internal Revenue Service says it’s granting a regulatory waiver requested by U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy to allow those impacted by August floods in Louisiana early access to retirement funds without penalty.
Cassidy, in a statement Tuesday, said the hardship waiver will be critical for helping Louisianans get back on their feet quickly. He says since so many living in the affected areas didn’t have flood insurance, “every tool possible needs to be implemented to allow them access to much needed emergency funds.”
The hardship waiver will be in effect until Jan. 17, 2017, to allow flood victims access to emergency funds to account for losses that began Aug. 11.
10:30 a.m.Thousands of southern Louisiana residents have already applied to take part in the state’s new “Shelter at Home” program.
The governor’s office said that more than 6,300 people applied for the program on Monday, the first day applications were accepted.
The Advocate (http://bit.ly/2bOblAG) reports that through Shelter at Home, homeowners can get up to $15,000 worth of basic repairs. It comes at no cost to the homeowners and allows them to remain at home as larger rebuilding projects proceed, lessening the demand for other temporary housing options.
It is unclear how many of people will qualify for the home repair effort, which was unveiled last week.
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness estimates that many as 160,000 homes have been affected by the August flood.
Officials say public schools in Central school district sustained between $6 million and $8 million in flood damage, the bulk of which stems from flooding at Tanglewood Elementary school.
While Central does not carry flood insurance on its schools, Superintendent Michael Faulk told the school board Monday night, up to 75 percent of the damage, as well as other expenses incurred during the flooding, is eligible for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Faulk said the school system has sufficient financial reserves to pay for the repairs.
The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/2byZ58q) Central’s students will return to the classroom Sept. 6.
State officials are allowing childcare facilities that were not affected by recent flooding to receive more children to offset the increased demand.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office says daycare facilities requesting a capacity increase must be located within or near a flood-affected parish. The facility must not have received any floodwater or other damages.
The higher numbers will be allowed until Nov. 30. Should an extension of time for a facility to house additional children be needed beyond then, requests shall be considered on a case-by-case basis.
For further information regarding daycare facilities, please visit the State Fire Marshal’s website at www.lasfm.org.
Federal agencies, state and local governments continue to support and assist those affected by flooding in Louisiana.
Since President Obama’s major disaster declaration to 20 parishes in south Louisiana, the Federal Emergency Management Agency says more than 128,000 households have registered for assistance – with more than $385 million already approved for those living in the Baton Rouge metro area. That includes $108 million in advanced flood insurance payments and $277 million for temporary rental assistance, essential home repairs, and other disaster-related needs.
FEMA says more than 1,700 families are being housed in hotels or motels through their program to provide short-term lodging.
The Small Business Administration is providing low interest loans to citizens and businesses to assist with uninsured and underinsured flood-related losses. So far, FEMA says the SBA has approved $56 million in disaster loans.