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Providing Rural Housing Assistance for Louisiana Flood Survivors

Last month, many parts of Southern Louisiana were faced with disastrous flooding that submerged thousands of homes and businesses and also resulted in 13 reported deaths. The flood has been called the worst U.S. natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Seeing homes where families have spent their entire lives destroyed along with gutted furniture piled on neighborhood sidewalks is truly heartbreaking.  While distressing, I do believe that through the strength of the community, Louisiana will continue to rebuild and move forward.  I am most proud to see residents working together each day after such a tragedy.  Some of the USDA Rural Development (RD) Louisiana staff members have volunteered their time with the American Red Cross at local shelters or have helped clean out their neighbors’ damaged homes.  Despite the devastation, these RD staff volunteers have approached this work in a positive and kind-hearted manner.

The Year of the Flood

Incidents described as “thousand year storms and floods” and “the worst U.S. disaster since Hurricane Sandy” claimed the lives of more than 58 people in Louisiana, West Virginia and South Carolina over the last year.  These disasters often remind us of the devastating impacts that families and their communities face after they strike.

After emergency life saving operations, food and shelter assistance are the most important priorities with which emergency managers must contend.  It was during these times that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) responded to 22 incidents by providing needed nutrition assistance.  More than half of these disasters involved severe and widespread flooding, including the most recent floods that affected residents in 22 parishes in and around Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Be Prepared! Do YOU Know USDA's Role in Helping Families Following Disasters and Emergencies?

Ensuring our Nation’s children and families in need have access to healthy meals is a priority at USDA and that promise is of particular emphasis during times of disaster or emergency.  Throughout National Preparedness Month this September, USDA recognizes the importance of being ready and wants the public to know the resources available to them during a time of great need.

When disasters strike, it’s not only important for you and your family to be prepared, it’s also critical that your community be prepared.  USDA supports local communities by providing access to healthy meals in emergency situations.  Schools, emergency shelters, and summer sites that operate the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care Food, or Summer Food Service programs may provide access to healthy meals for children in such events.  Child care institutions may also serve as emergency shelters in a disaster situation.

USDA Continues to Provide Assistance to Oklahoma Tornado Survivors

USDA personnel continue to assist the State of Oklahoma and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the wake of the tornadoes and heavy rains that occurred this week.

Earlier this week, USDA announced that it was working to assist Oklahomans who were left homeless by providing FEMA with a list of vacant USDA-financed apartments in the area.  USDA is also working with FEMA by providing information on vacant government-financed single family homes.  Individuals needing immediate help finding emergency housing are asked to contact FEMA directly. USDA is also working to assist owners of USDA-financed homes in the disaster area that have direct or guaranteed mortgages.   If you have questions about your USDA mortgage, please call USDA's Centralized Servicing Center at 800-414-1226.