Money available to help LC Ike flood victims

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Do you live in Lake Charles and did your home take on rising water from Hurricane Ike. If the answer is yes - you could be due some money. A new program aims to reimburse qualified applicants up to $18,000 for damages that weren't covered or picked up by insurance.

"If people have documented proof that in fact their home flooded from rising water from Ike that's the acid test," explained Russ Adams, Lake Charles Director of Planning & Development.

According to Adams $2,500,000 from a Community Development Block Grant has been re-allocated to help Lake Charles residents impacted by Ike flooding.

"If they qualify they will be paid in cash and they can do with that money what they want and as they see fit," said Adams.

The City of Lake Charles has identified more than 300 homes that qualify. Most are along or near the Contraband Bayou, Griffith Bayou and the Pithon Coulee. The homeowners fall into two categories:

Standardized Incentive Reward: People who were not covered by federal flood insurance.

Supplemental Assistance: People covered by insurance - reward fills gaps in insurance or to reimburse their deductible.

Depending on which category they fall in the following will be the maximum they could be awarded, but they will be required to stay in Lake Charles for up to three years after accepting money.

- Up to $18,000 if still living in the home and must own and occupy the home in Lake Charles after receiving money for three years.

- Up to $9,000 if they did not return to home, but still live in Lake Charles.

- Up to $18,000 and residents must commit to own and occupy home in Lake Charles for one year.

The applicant must be up to date on property taxes and if they currently live in a flood zone must have proof of flood insurance.

Those who do not qualify:
Renters or owners of rental property.

"I imagine these places must have been required to have flood insurance. They must have been in a flood zone in the first place and if they didn't have flood insurance and they flooded - it's like we are rewarding them for it. We are basically giving them a check to go out and do whatever they want, but if they don't do what they are asking them to do we have to go and incur additional expenses to try and get money back, which we may never recover anyway," said Marshall Simien, Lake Charles City Council.

Adams said he is not sure how many uninsured applicants they will have.

"They won't be the first group to be awarded. The first will be the people who had flood insurance and suffered the losses," said Adams.  "Since it is a fixed amount of money, depending on how many people actually apply - the amount that people will receive will actually go up or down but in no case would it exceed $18,000."

Applications will be available on Friday to be picked up at Lake Charles City Hall or by logging on to the City of Lake Charles website. The deadline to apply is November 30th. With awards expected to go out January 5, 2012.

If you think you qualify, you're urged to attend a meeting at Thursday September 22, 2011 at the Lake Charles Civic Center. It starts at 6 p.m. in the Jean Lafitte Room.