[StBernard] Road Home option is clarified

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Fri Nov 3 21:12:57 EST 2006

3-year wait for aid isn't mandatory

Homeowners receiving grants from the state's Road Home program will not
receive the money over a three-year period unless they choose to do so, the
contractor in charge of doling out the money announced this week.

Some people who have been to the initial interviews to get the grant money
reported being told that they could receive their grants only over a
three-year period, a restriction that could make repairs much more

"Our No. 1 mission is to get funds into the hands of Louisiana homeowners as
quickly as possible," Mike Byrne, the chief program executive hired by ICF
International to run the Road Home said in a prepared statement.

While the statement only notes that there is "some confusion" about the
issue of how the money will be given out, Carol Hector-Harris, a spokeswoman
for the program, acknowledged that some people were incorrectly given that

In fact, people who want to repair a house damaged during Hurricanes Katrina
and Rita will get the money in a disbursement account, which would be
managed jointly by the homeowners and lenders if there is a mortgage on the
property. The contractor working on the project will be paid out of this
account, with the final payment being made after all the work is complete to
protect against fraud, the release stated.

Homeowners who own their houses outright can arrange with a bank to set up a
similar disbursement account or could choose to get the payments doled out
over three years.

Any homeowners who already have completed the repairs on their houses will
get the full award at the closing, according to the news release.

Homeowners who repair their houses using grant money or use the payment to
relocate are required to sign a "covenant" pledging that they will continue
to live in the house for three years.

While the state estimates that around 123,000 storm-damaged houses are
eligible for the $7.5 billion housing repair program, the Road Home has so
far received only 77,281 applications. Just over 16,000 homeowners have gone
for their initial interviews, according to statistics released earlier this
week by the program.

Under the program, homeowners are eligible for grants of up to $150,000,
depending on the prestorm value of the house and amount of damages not
covered by insurance.

For more information about making an application for Road Home grants, call
(888) 762-3252 or log on to www.road2la.org.

More information about the StBernard mailing list