By Paige Nash
According to Director of Homeland Security and Preparedness Brian Williams, there were only 21 reported storm damages submitted in the parish through the La.gov website.
With so few reports coming in, it is not likely the parish will qualify for state assistance.
“We are not going to qualify for individual assistance,” said Williams. “We did not have enough damages, but I encourage everybody that did have damages to report them, so that they have them.”
Governor John Bel Edwards declared a “State of Emergency” in multiple parishes across Northwest Louisiana including Webster Parish, following multiple rounds of severe weather in the area late last month. That declaration will remain in effect for another 60 to 90 days.
That declaration will help in assisting Claiborne Electric with reimbursements for money that was spent on repairing damage caused by the storm. According to Williams, it will not help SWEPCO or Entergy since they are privately owned companies.
The entirety of the state of Louisiana must reach 8 million dollars in reported damages before FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) declares a “State of Emergency.”
“So, we are still trying to make sure that everybody puts everything in,” said Williams. “They can go to La.gov and they register their damages individually. If anybody has any problems, I can help them or I can go out in the field and do it for them if it’s somebody that needs some help.”
However, the parish did qualify to receive reimbursements on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Recipients of this program will automatically have a portion of their June benefits replaced.
“Caddo and Bossier qualified for the SNAP benefits – the food stamp program, if you are in those two parishes and whatever the food stamps that you get each month, they went in and put them back on the card because they were out of power for so long,” said Williams. “In Webster all you have to do is submit your address to them. They can look it up through the Public Service Commission. They have a list of everyone that lost power for more than 48 hours. Most of South Doyline was without for 7 days.”
The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) waived a regulation that normally requires households to submit a request for replacement within 10 days. The waiver allows recipients an additional 20 days to verify that they lost power and to report food losses.
The waiver also applies to recipients in Bienville, Caldwell, Claiborne, DeSoto, East Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Red River, Richland, Tensas, Union, West Carroll and Winn Parishes.
The deadline to submit food losses is July 17.
More information, including online and printable SNAP 38 forms, can be found at http://dcfs.la/rb616.