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Missing paperwork keeping flood victims from potential Restore LA funding

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LIVINGSTON - A family in Livingston Parish is having trouble providing proof of home ownership following the August 2016 flood. They need proof in order to move forward with their Restore LA application.

Cathy Sanchez says the water came up fast and reached the doorway to her parent's home. She says the flood water drenched everything, seeping up through the floor and walls.

"All the insulation in the floors, gone," she said.

Sanchez tells 2 On Your Side the price tag to fix everything was more than it was worth so a crew hauled the trailer away and took it to a lot in Denham Springs.

Her parents purchased the trailer home new from an unknown Gonzales location in 1982. Sanchez says her parents paid it off and lived on a family member's property. After the flood, FEMA money helped pay to build up the land to make way for a new home.

"We did all the work ourselves like the water line, the sewage line," she said in order to save money.

The FEMA funds were used to put a down payment on a new trailer home and soon after, Sanchez helped her parents apply for assistance through the Restore Louisiana program. She hopes if she's approved for assistance, it'll help with payments her family will be making for the next 15 years on the trailer.

"Anything would help," she said. "They're 78-years-old, they live on social security."

They filled out an application, but have hit a roadblock.

"Their title, all their paperwork was lost in the flood," said Sanchez.

She's having trouble proving that her parents owned the trailer home they lost in the flood. It's something Restore Louisiana says it needs to move forward. It's a possible mix-up that dates back decades, since the Office of Motor Vehicles and the courthouse can't find record of it. Sanchez says she can't located a VIN either.

"They told me without the title there was nothing they could do for me," she said.

Restore Louisiana tells 2 On Your Side it helps with locating documentation but it's ultimately up to the homeowner to provide proof of ownership.

"I asked them why wouldn't they accept the documents that were submitted to FEMA?" she said.

The best Sanchez can do is provide utility bills and major repair bills. She says everything else is gone.

Restore Louisiana says it needs some sort of proof of ownership before it can help. Mobile home ownership should be on record with the Office of Motor Vehicles but in this case, it's not. According to Restore, other forms of ownership include things like a bill of sale or a tax bill for the mobile home.

The agency continues to work with Sanchez.



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