BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — The Army Corps of Engineers is reviving its free Operation Blue Roof program in an attempt to get as many houses into liveable conditions as possible in the recovery from Hurricane Laura.
Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the program during his press briefing today, noting that the program is active in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jeff Davis and Vernon parishes, currently. More may be added as the federal major disaster declaration grows.
You can sign up for the program at the Army Cops of Engineers (USACE) website by filling out a Right of Entry form. This form allows the USACE to access your property and gives permission for contractors to work on the roof of your home. You may also call 1-888-ROOF-BLU [(888) 766-3258].
According to the website, Operation Blue Roof is for primary residences or permanently occupied rental properties with less than 50% structural damage. Congressman Clay Higgins further clarified the requirements in a statement this afternoon. Vacation rental properties are not eligible for the program. Once the blue roof is installed, the structure must be habitable. Not all roof types qualify for the program. Roofs that are flat or made of metal or clay, slate, or asbestos tile do not qualify. All storm debris must be removed for the roof to qualify.
Edwards said the program is part of the state’s housing initiative in Hurricane Laura’s recovery. The other main part is the use of non-congregant — or hotel — shelters for those displaced by the storm. As of this morning, over 10,000 evacuees were placed in the hotels, which are being used instead of traditional shelters due to COVID-19.
Edwards said the use of hotel rooms is a welcome shot in the arm for the industry, which had been floundering with the loss of tourism and travel because of COVID-19.
Edwards believes the current contracts for evacuees will last 30 days but may then be extended through the use of vouchers.
Edwards also announced a state recovery website where you can find as much information as is available on the recovery effort: http://hurricanelaura.la.gov