From Times Picayune….
WASHINGTON — The White House announced Wednesday that it will ask Congress to approve another $4.2 billion to help rebuild Louisiana homes destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The additional money would increase the total in federal block grants for housing to $10.4 billion.
Gov. Kathleen Blanco, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and other state and local officials made hastily arranged trips to Washington to join Donald Powell, the Bush administration’s hurricane recovery coordinator, for the announcement. The meeting was also attended by St. Bernard Parish President Junior Rodriguez, Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and U.S. Reps. Bobby Jindal, R-Kenner, Jim McCrery, R-Shreveport and Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman.
Louisiana was earlier targeted to receive $6.2 billion in block grants appropriated by Congress, but Blanco, Nagin and others had complained that the money would not be enough to deal with the more than 165,000 homes damaged by the storms.
But Wednesday, Blanco and Nagin said the additional money would be adequate to deal with more the most severely damaged homes. They said the money would be used for buyouts, repair or elevation of existing homes. They estimated that individual homeowners could get up to $150,000 through the program.
This is good news.