Few flood victims taking advantage of elevation program in Livingston Parish
DENHAM SPRINGS - John and Jane Pierce have just moved into their newly-built home in Denham Springs after their old one was destroyed in the 2016 flood.
"I love the home. I love the way we did it," Jane Pierce said.
The new home sits 12 feet above the ground, on the same lot where their first home was destroyed.
"We decided to tear this house down and to build up to meet the flood elevation requirement," John said.
The Pierces did get a little help from the federal government, which may have been the worst part for them.
"Dealing with the government and government agencies, that's the most trying part."
FEMA offers to pay 75 percent of the cost to elevate homes that were damaged in the flood, which would amount to a lot in a parish that was devastated in the 2016 flood.
But compared to the large number of homes that were destroyed by the flood, only a hand full of homeowners have applied for the FEMA elevation program. And the process had been slow-going for them.
Parish President Layton Ricks says only about 115 people have applied for the elevation program, far less than applied during other disasters.
"It would be hundreds, hundreds of people who would qualify," Ricks said. "I think there's a disdain, distrust in dealing with the federal government, and I think that's why we had a lower amount this time that applied."
And even though the Pierces are finally in their new house, it took months and months to get the government to help them.
"The other house was paid off and the government owns this one. We'll never, We'll never own it."