Louisiana is planning to use Community Development Block Grant funds to help rebuild hurricane-damaged homes and to buy out homeowners who can't rebuild due to new flood and development restrictions."If they are in a safe place on high ground and meet local standards, we will allow them to rebuild or rehab their house and give them the funds to do that," said Pam LaBorde, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Recovery Authority. If the property is not in a safe place, the state will purchase the property so the homeowner can pay off the mortgage and start fresh. Homeowners could receive up to $150,000, less insurance and less Federal Emergency Management Agency payments. The LRA is scheduled to vote on a detailed housing plan for using the CDBG funds at a board meeting on Feb. 20. That plan is expected to provide assistance to homeowners whether they live in a flood plain or not. Mississippi has limited the use of its CDBG funds to assist homeowners that live outside a flood plain. "It is going to deal with all the houses," Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said. "We're not discriminating between in and out." Congress has already provided $6.2 billion in CDBG funds to Louisiana, and President Bush has asked Congress to approve another $4.2 billion in CDBG funds as part of a supplemental appropriations bill.

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