[StBernard] Landrieu Introduces Bill to Extend Utility Reimbursement for Hurricane Evacuees

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Tue Apr 1 20:50:29 EDT 2008

Landrieu Introduces Bill to Extend Utility Reimbursement for Hurricane
Nearly 150 St. Bernard Sheriff's deputies currently receiving utility

WASHINGTON - United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., yesterday
introduced legislation, S. 2789, to extend for a third year reimbursement of
local governments paying utilities for hurricane evacuees, including
Sheriff's deputies.

"Many Louisianians, our law enforcement officials among them, were forced
into temporary housing by the storms and are under severe financial strain
as they try to rebuild their homes," Sen. Landrieu said. "Our recovery is
still very much in progress. The Sheriff's office in St. Bernard is still
operating out of trailers because FEMA has not yet replaced the destroyed
facility. We need FEMA to continue these utility payments at least until
next year as we work to rebuild."

"The extension is one of the most critical issues to the continued success
of the operation of the Sheriff's department in that it provides space for
the operation of our administrative functions as well as residential space
for our enforcement personnel while they are in the process of renovating
their homes," said St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jack Stephens. "Sen. Landrieu
has been consistent and aggressive on our behalf, both before the storm and
certainly with regards to our recovery since. We appreciate her efforts."

After Katrina and Rita, many hurricane survivors began receiving Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) rental assistance, but FEMA did not
initially cover utility payments. Local governments took on the payments,
and Congress has passed legislation by Sen. Landrieu to authorize FEMA to
reimburse them. The Emergency Supplemental signed into law last May included
a Landrieu provision extending the reimbursement from one year to two. As
of last year, 80 percent of the Louisiana evacuees receiving utility
assistance were public employees and 150 were medical students.

In St. Bernard Parish, which was totally destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, the
Sheriff's department was as of last month housed in 25 office trailers, and
nearly 150 of its deputies are still living in trailers. The legislation
introduced yesterday extends reimbursement authority until February 28,


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