Spring Bossier flood victims wait on FEMA program

Spring Bossier flood victims wait on FEMA program

BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Several ArkLaTex flood victims from March are still waiting to hear from the feds. They hope to be approved for a program that will help them move on with their lives.

The FEMA program gives Bossier Parish money to buy the flooded out houses from the homeowner.

In March, Susan Ouellette's street in the Tall Timbers neighborhood flooded after heavy rains swept through. Her home took on several feet of water, breaking windows and turning everything she owned into a soggy mess.

"Water has very bad memories for me," said Ouellette.

KSLA News 12 was there as her family started the exhausting clean up process. Later several non-profit organizations jumped in to help the family gut their home.

Since the flood, the Ouellette's home has been gutted and stripped down to its studs, it looks like a home that is ready to be rebuilt, but Ouellette says she has no plans to do that.

"That is our only house we have ever owned, but it has flooded three times I don't think I could ever, feel safe there," said Ouellette.
Even if she wanted to rebuild, Bossier Parish leaders say they are not issuing building permits to homes with a history of flooding. Instead, parish leaders hope FEMA will provide financing for the parish to buy back the flooded properties, allowing homeowners like Ouellette a chance to move on financially.

"We have already lost everything we own and this is our only way to potentially recoup anything," said Ouellette. 
Word of whether the parish will get the buyback money may come this fall.  But the money won't be available for several months after that.

"It is a lot of hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait, and it is very stress inducing," said Ouellette.

In the meantime, she is figuring out how to stay afloat, paying both rent where they now live and for their gutted out home.

"We have to continue to pay our mortgage on that house while it sits empty and uninhabitable," said Ouellette.

More than 40 Bossier homeowners have applied to the buyback program. Once the parish buys back the properties, the homes will be demolished  and no new homes will be allowed to be rebuilt there again.

Copyright 2016 KSLA. All rights reserved.