For details, see the full news release from Cantrell’s office below:
It feels like a stab in the back. The state’s Road Home program has been sending letters to homeowners, many of them seniors, stating that these owners “haven’t met their covenant.” The letters have been sent despite these homeowners currently living in their homes and having used the state funds for repairs.
“This is bureaucracy at its worst,” says New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell. “Talk about a broken covenant. We have done everything asked of us: repairing our homes, spending the money as intended and repopulating this city. And now the state wants the money back? That’s a broken promise.”
Hurricane Katrina victims have been through enough. In many cases, homeowners that have rebuilt and met their obligations are being harassed by Road Home, while adjacent properties whose owners received Road Home grants remain blighted after eight years.
Cantrell adds that for many of these homeowners the money in question covered only a small percentage of the total bill for fixing their homes. The federally-funded and state-managed Road Home program was started after Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures. The Congress devoted more than $13 billion for the program, and the state awarded monies to more than 117,000 recipients.
Unfortunately, The state has failed to keep any acceptable data on homeowners, who are not in compliance. As a result, the Road Home is responsible for much of the blight that plagues our neighborhoods.
“Instead of intimidating those who have worked so hard to come back, the Road Home should focus enforcement on the thousands of property owners who have made little or no attempt to repair and reoccupy their homes,” says Cantrell. “Anyone in my district that receives one of these letters should immediately contact my office. We will help you.”
Cantrell’s office can be reached at (504) 658-1020.