One of the worst aspects to disaster recover for your family is the inherently coercive situation of being homeless. Don’t let this happen to you. Reserve a furnished rental home as soon as a hurricane enters the Gulf. How long can you negotiate with insurance and deal with government bureaucracy if you family is displaced? Find a corporate Rental home outside of the storm’s path or far enough inland. Don’t go so far that you cannot get back to your property.
Read the NOLA.com article below and consider dealing with these issues without a roof over your head.
HUD approves Road Home policy changes, freeing up more federal aid for struggling hurricane victims
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has cleared the way for the Road Home program to deliver more federal aid to potentially thousands of Louisiana families still struggling to rebuild their homes after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The new policy changes, pitched by the state agency that oversees the controversial rebuilding program, could provide relief to grant recipients who fell victim to contractor fraud, theft, vandalism, contaminated drywall, another hurricane, a fire, or had to spend their initial grants to pay off outstanding mortgages. They also forgive homeowners who used grants intended for home elevation to repair their homes instead.
The state Office of Community Development sent three policy proposals, known as action plan amendments, to HUD in May. The changes could begin unlocking an unspent $110 million in remaining Road Home aid that has been frozen while families have languished with their homes in various states of disrepair.
But the new policies also serve another purpose, allowing the OCD to bring property owners considered to be violating the terms of their Road Home grants into compliance and thus absolving the state of having to recoup a large amount of potentially misspent money.
“Now that these action plan amendments have been approved, our Road Home staff has additional tools to help homeowners to finish their homes and bring them into compliance,” OCD Executive Director Pat Forbes said in a statement.
Now entering its eighth year, the Road Home’s housing assistance program has disbursed $9.8 billion to hurricane victims.
The policy changes affect property owners who agreed but failed to rebuild within three years of accepting their grants, as required under the Road Home’s so-called Option 1. Eligible grant recipients will be required to provide documentation demonstrating the hardship under which they qualify for additional grants.
The policy changes also affect people who sold their properties with plans to move somewhere else in Louisiana, known as Option 2, but needed additional money to relocate. The OCD, through its contractor, HGI Services Inc., will begin sending letters on Aug. 26 to grant recipients who haven’t met their three-year commitments.
The new grants, which are capped at $150,000, would only cover the amount of original grant money lost, and must be used to either pay down the principal on construction loans or to finish repairs.
The plans don’t provide relief for Road Home recipients who spent their grant money on living expenses. Nor would they affect homeowners who have complied with the program and returned home.
The changes also don’t guarantee that newly qualified Road Home participants will see any new money. Instead, the policy shift could simply relieve some non-compliant homeowners of the burden of having to return to the state what they have already received.
Before the policy change, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor estimated that the OCD could be on the hook to recover more than $116 million in misappropriated Road Home Grants. OCD spokeswoman Angela Vanveckhoven has said the state agency has no estimate on how many families could benefit from the new policies. Likewise, she has said OCD cannot determine how the policy shift will affect its effort to recover misspent funds.