BATON ROUGE — After the disastrous flooding last August in
Louisiana, more than 2,500 victims were denied relief by the Federal
Emergency Management Agency, according to a news
these victims, who had their homes damaged as a result of the
flooding, were denied relief by FEMA, is that they were not able to
provide sufficient proof of ownership of their homes. The Baton Rouge
Area Foundation issued a statement explaining the issue in the
December press release that “(t)housands of people live in homes
that they don't own outright because properties were passed on to
family members without successions.”
In order to find a solution to this problem and allow those
affected by the flood to receive aid, BRAF is completing a program
that will help those effected by the floods clear property titles.
This will make them eligible for the federal grants which will go
toward repairing their flooded houses.
The program, which also is made possible with support from a W.K.
Kellogg Foundation grant, will also make use of a smartphone app to
will make the process faster and more efficient by streamlining the
personal information. According to the news release, BRAF believes
that this will not only speed up the process, but also will allow
attorneys and other professionals clear even more titles in a reduced
amount of time as well.
The Baton Rouge Area Foundation collaborated with the American Bar
Association Center for Innovation and Stanford University Law School
in creating the app.
According to the news release, the aim of BRAF is to clear 500
titles, while searching for ongoing funding in order to further
continue the program.
“Our goal over the next year is to secure permanent funding to
continue this program as long as it's needed,” BRAF project manager
Lauren Crapanzano Jumonville said in the release. “Turning people
into homeowners has proven to be among the best mechanisms for
The program is being overseen by Southeast Louisiana Legal
Services, which is partnering other organizations, including the
Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Southern University Law Center,
Louisiana Appleseed and Louisiana State University Law Clinic. SLLS
also is partnering with the Baton Rouge Bar Association, Equal
Justice Works, East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority, Louisiana
Bar Foundation and the Louisiana State Bar Foundation.
“Civil legal aid is an essential, yet overlooked, component of
disaster recovery for lower-income people and communities,” SLLS
Executive Director Laura Tuggle said. “We
know the importance of tackling unresolved title problems that pose a
barrier to recovery funding, insurance proceeds, and a family's
ability to obtain capital to rebuild their homes. We
are so grateful to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation for investing in
justice to help families and neighborhoods rebound after disaster.”
According to its website,
the Baton Rouge Area Foundation has already granted more than $3
million to nonprofits and schools in the efforts for disaster