Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness - State of LouisianaSince 1990, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emgergency Preparedness has coordinated several hundred State Disaster Declarations authorized under the Governor's signature. The GOHSEP staff is poised and ready to serve the people of Louisiana at a moment’s notice.
Disaster Recovery Division - Individuals


Small Business Administration
If you are in a declared disaster area and are the victim of a disaster, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the U.S. SBA. As a homeowner, renter and/or personal-property owner, you may apply to the SBA for a loan to help you recover from a disaster. Renters and homeowners alike may borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace clothing, furniture, cars, appliances, etc. damaged or destroyed in the disaster. Homeowners may apply for up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence to its pre-disaster condition. The loans may not be used to upgrade homes or make additions unless as required by local building authority/code. Loans may be increased up to 20 percent of the total amount of disaster damage to real estate, as verified by the SBA, to make improvements that lessen the risk of property damage by future disasters of the same kind.

Secondary homes or vacation properties are not eligible for these loans. However, qualified rental properties may be eligible for assistance under the business loan program.

Any proceeds from insurance coverage on your property or home will be deducted from the total damage to the property to determine the loan amount you are eligible for. The SBA is not permitted to duplicate any benefits.

You can review the SBA Disaster Loan Fact Sheet for Homeowners and Renters or visit the SBA Home and Personal Property Disaster Loan Webpage for more information.

The SBA now offers you the option of filing your home disaster loan application electronically. For additional information, please contact our Customer Service Center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
How much can I borrow?
The amount SBA will lend depends on the cost of repairing or replacing your home and/or personal property, minus any insurance settlements or grants. SBA will send an inspector to estimate the cost of your damage once you have completed and returned your loan application.

Can the SBA refinance my mortgage?
In some cases, SBA can refinance all or part of a previous mortgage when the applicant does not have credit available elsewhere, has suffered substantial disaster damage not covered by insurance, and intends to repair the damage. SBA considers refinancing when processing each application.

How soon before I know I have been approved?
The SBA disaster assistance program helps with long-term, low-interest rebuilding and repair of damaged property, unlike immediate emergency relief provided by relief organizations. To make a loan, we must know the repair cost, be assured that you can repay the loan, and take reasonable safeguards to make sure the loan is repaid. The sooner you return the completed loan application, the sooner SBA can process the application. SBA tries to make a decision on each application within 14 days. Make sure the application is complete, since missing information is a major cause for delays.

What information must I submit for a home and/or personal property loan?
You must submit the completed loan application and a signed and dated IRS form 8821 giving permission for the IRS to provide SBA your tax return information.

Is collateral required for these loans?
Loans over $14,000 must be secured to the extent possible. The SBA will not decline a loan if you do not have enough collateral, but will ask for whatever collateral is available. That usually consists of a first or second mortgage on the damaged real estate.

Should I wait for my insurance settlement before I file my loan application?
No, do not miss the filing deadline by waiting for an insurance settlement. Final insurance information can be added after a settlement is made. SBA can approve a loan for the total replacement cost up to our lending limits. Once your insurance settles, if there is a duplication of benefits, we will apply those funds to the balance of your disaster loan.

I'm a farmer, and my barns, fence, and some of my crops were damaged, as well as my home. Can I apply to SBA for assistance?
You may apply for an SBA disaster loan to cover the damage to your home and its contents only. SBA cannot cover agriculture losses. Contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture for recovery assistance for your farm at www.usda.gov.
You can file your application through the Electronic Loan Application (ELA).

Required Information for the ELA Process
  • It is recommended that you have the following information available when completing the online application:
Home Applications
  • Contact information for all applicants (current and alternate telephone numbers).
  • Identity information for all applicants (social security numbers / FEMA registration number).
  • Deed or lease information, if available.
  • Insurance information – if applicable, the name address, and policy number of any insurance carrier liable for the loss.
  • Financial information (income, creditors’ names, monthly payments, balances).
You can email your application to: disastercustomerservice@sba.gov
You can contact the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339).

Federal/State Disaster Assistance Programs
Disaster assistance is money or direct assistance to individuals, families and businesses in an area whose property has been damaged or destroyed and whose losses are not covered by insurance. It's meant to help you with critical expenses that cannot be covered in other ways. This assistance is not intended to restore your damaged property to its condition before the disaster. While some housing assistance funds are available through our Individuals and Households Program, most disaster assistance from the Federal government is in the form of loans administered by the Small Business Administration.

Disaster Assistance Available from FEMA Housing Needs
  • Temporary Housing (a place to live for a limited period of time): Money is available to rent a different place to live, or a government provided housing unit when rental properties are not available.
  • Repair: Money is available to homeowners to repair damage from the disaster to their primary residence that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to make the damaged home safe, sanitary, and functional.
  • Replacement: Money is available to homeowners to replace their home destroyed in the disaster that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to help the homeowner with the cost of replacing their destroyed home.
  • Permanent Housing: Direct assistance or money for the construction of a home. This type of help occurs only in insular areas or remote locations specified by FEMA, where no other type of housing assistance is possible.
What Specific Items are Covered by "Housing Assistance"?
Do I Qualify for "Housing Needs" Assistance?

Other than Housing Needs
  • Money is available for necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster. This includes:
  • Disaster-related medical and dental costs.
  • Disaster-related funeral and burial cost.
  • Clothing; household items (room furnishings, appliances); tools (specialized or protective clothing and equipment) required for your job; necessary educational materials (computers, school books, supplies).
  • Fuels for primary heat source (heating oil, gas).
  • Clean-up items (wet/dry vacuum, dehumidifier).
  • Disaster damaged vehicle.
  • Moving and storage expenses related to the disaster (moving and storing property to avoid additional disaster damage while disaster-related repairs are being made to the home).
  • Other necessary expenses or serious needs as determined by FEMA.
  • Other expenses that are authorized by law.
Additional Services
  • Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program
  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance
  • Legal Services
  • Special Tax Considerations
Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program
The mission of the CCP is to assist individuals and communities in recovering from the effects of natural and human-caused disasters through the provision of community-based outreach and psycho-educational services. The CCP supports short-term interventions that involve the counseling goals of assisting disaster survivors in understanding their current situation and reactions, mitigating stress, assisting survivors in reviewing their disaster recovery options, promoting the use or development of coping strategies, providing emotional support, and encouraging linkages with other individuals and agencies who may help survivors in their recovery process (recover to their pre-disaster level of functioning).

Disaster Unemployment Assistance
The Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program provides unemployment benefits and re-employment services to individuals who have become unemployed because of major disasters. Benefits begin with the date the individual was unemployed due to the disaster incident and can extend up to 26 weeks after the Presidential declaration date. These benefits are made available to individuals not covered by other unemployment compensation programs, such as self-employed, farmers, migrant and seasonal workers, and those who have insufficient quarters to qualify for other unemployment compensation.
All unemployed individuals must register with the State's employment services office before they can receive DUA benefits. However, although most States have a provision that an individual must be able and available to accept employment opportunities comparable to the employment the individual held before the disaster, not all States require an individual to search for work.

Legal Services
When the President declares a disaster, FEMA/EPR, through an agreement with the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association, provides free legal assistance to disaster victims. Legal advice is limited to cases that will not produce a fee (i.e., these attorneys work without payment). Cases that may generate a fee are turned over to the local lawyer referral service.
The assistance that participating lawyers provide typically includes:
  • Assistance with insurance claims (life, medical, property, etc.)
  • Counseling on landlord/tenant problems
  • Assisting in consumer protection matters, remedies, and procedures
  • Replacement of wills and other important legal documents destroyed in a major disaster
  • Disaster legal services are provided to low-income individuals who, prior to or because of the disaster, are unable to secure legal services adequate to meet their needs as a consequence of a major disaster.
Special Tax Considerations
Taxpayers who have sustained a casualty loss from a declared disaster may deduct that loss on the federal income tax return for the year in which the casualty actually occurred, or elect to deduct the loss on the tax return for the preceding tax year. In order to deduct a casualty loss, the amount of the loss must exceed 10 percent of the adjusted gross income for the tax year by at least $100. If the loss was sustained from a federally declared disaster, the taxpayer may choose which of those two tax years provides the better tax advantage.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can expedite refunds due to taxpayers in a federally declared disaster area. An expedited refund can be a relatively quick source of cash, does not need to be repaid, and does not need an Individual Assistance declaration. It is available to any taxpayer in a federally declared disaster area.

Flood Smart
Since standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Over the past 10 years, the average flood claim has amounted to over $33,000. Flood insurance is the best way to protect yourself from devastating financial loss. Flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters, condo owners/renters, and commercial owners/renters. Costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers, and the property's flood risk. All policy forms provide coverage for buildings and contents. However, you might want to discuss insuring personal property with your agent, since contents coverage is optional. Typically, there's a 30-day waiting period—from date of purchase—before your policy goes into effect. That means now is the best time to buy flood insurance. Find out more about the NFIP and how it can help you protect yourself by visiting http://www.floodsmart.gov.

Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services
Disaster Food Stamp Program
All low- to moderate-income Louisianans may be eligible for Disaster Food Stamp benefits in the event of a natural disaster and should pre-apply now for benefits online or by phone. Current SNAP recipients do not need to pre-apply and would receive disaster benefits automatically.

Pre-Apply Online Now for Disaster Food Stamps here.


VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters)
VOAD is a coalition of member organizations made up of non-profits, religious groups, and other entities that respond to disasters. There are roughly 50 national members and as well as state and local entities. The coalition’s goal is to foster more effective service through communication, coordination, cooperation, and collaboration by providing convening mechanisms and outreach for all people and organizations involved in disasters.

American Red Cross
The American Red Cross provides disaster services following an event, specifically sheltering, supplies, and counseling. A good resource from the ARC for those beginning the recovery process is “Picking up the Pieces Following a Disaster,” which can be found here.
Louisiana Chapters Louisiana 2-1-1
Louisiana 2-1-1 is a collaboration and partnership between Centerpoint Community Services/2-1-1 which serves 11 parishes in the Shreveport area; United Way of Northeast Louisiana/2-1-1, which serves 15 parishes in the Monroe area; VIA LINK/2-1-1, which serves 10 parishes in the New Orleans area; Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center/2-1-1 which serves 11 parishes in the Capital area; 232-HELP/2-1-1, which serves 10 parishes in the Lafayette area; 310-INFO/2-1-1 which serves 7 parishes in the Lake Charles area; the Louisiana Association of United Ways; and the State of Louisiana.
Local Parish Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness Information
Clink the link below to obtain a listing of Parish Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness contacts and their contact information:
Parish OEP Contact Information

You may also access direct links to some Parish Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness Offices by clicking the link below:
Parish OEP Website Information

GOHSEP State Region Information
Visit our GOHSEP State Regions webpage to out which region your parish falls under. Louisiana is divided into 9 emergency management and homeland security districts which GOHSEP uses in conjunction with its Regional Support program.
Residential Flood Insurance/Coverage
Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. From 2007 to 2011, the average residential flood claim amounted to almost $30,000. Flood insurance is the best way to protect yourself from devastating financial loss.

Flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters, condo owners/renters, and commercial owners/renters. Costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers and the property's flood risk.

All policy forms provide coverage for buildings and contents. However, you might want to discuss insuring personal property with your agent, since contents coverage is optional. Typically, there's a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase before your policy goes into effect. That means now is the best time to buy flood insurance. Visit the Residential Coverage page of FloodSmart.gov for more information on flood insurance.

Filing Your Insurance Claim. If you have insurance, it’s important to call your agent or insurance company as soon as possible to begin the claims process. For additional information:
  • Review the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Flood Insurance Claims Handbook. It provides additional help with the process of filing a claim.
  • Call 1-800-427-4661 to talk with a National Flood Insurance Program insurance specialist if you are unable to locate important policy information or need help contacting your insurance company.
  • More information on preparation and recovery from a flood event visit FloodSmart.gov.