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1,565 Louisiana homeowners may lose nearly $58 million in HUD CDBG-DR grants because they are moving too slow.
About 8 minutes and 54 seconds reading time for this 2.2K word page.
Summary at a Glance
Awarded and accepted a Restore LA grant? You must close out on that grant with all required documents by July 31, 2019 or your grant award will be revoked and your recovery will end without federal assistance as ordered by state director Patrick Forbes.

UPDATE 7-9-2019

State Contracted Case Workers and CTA's Omission of Facts and Processes to Homeowners in Solution 2.
 
Case Workers and CTA's are once again not offering information the state OCD-DRU claims to have told them to offer homeowners. When you omit information as part of your daily activity or by order of management you are guilty of misconduct. When you are associated with a federal program and are guilty of misconduct you can be criminally held responsible for damages you have caused. I'm not a lawyer but a lawyer has told me about damages caused by misconduct.
 
On 7-8-2019 at 9:34 AM State of Louisiana Office of Community Development Disaster Recovery Unit Director Patrick Forbes and State Homeowners Program Manager Spring Garcia called me and spoke with me about the information that CTA's and Case Workers were told to pass to the homeowners but were not offering the information even when asked.
Director Patrick Forbes stated, (notes from phone call) "We do allow additional time for homeowners to close their grants but this time is not indefinite." Director Forbes went on to say, "The program needs to end and must have a deadline.", "Case workers and CTA's have been informed that they can offer the homeowner the option to ask for an extension of time."
When he made that statement I told both the Director and Manager that my CTA and Case Worker did nothing more than add stress to our household and told us we would be dropped from the program if we didn't complete the grant closing under a Solution 1 or 2 program by July 31, 2019. Now I learned after a major public and social media campaign to bring awareness to other state officials and to get the word out to state leaders and emergency preparedness agencies to assist the 1,595 homeowners in need of more time.
 
Today I am asking you all to continue to spread the word, share the information and try to reach everyone of the 1,595 households to inform them that they have an option to ask for more time. The program will close on the state's schedule July 31, 2020, and they can afford to keep you in the system and active if they know the cause of your delay. Put everything in writing and get notices that are accurate and complete from your Case Workers and CTA's. Contact your case worker and CTA about the process to extend time with an exceptions board review.
 
Do this today if you have not closed on your grant award and if you are a Solution 2 household that has closed on your grant award with less than 360 days remaining to complete your recovery. You need to be ready and knowledgeable on what to do to ask for additional time.
 
You have now been told the full story, the truth, the facts. Get it done today, use email only.
 
Opt-Ed: CTA's and Case Workers, your job is to process us as a number and as a piece of paper. You are to show no empathy, no compassion, no independent thinking skills, your job is to simply push the homeowner forward so the program can close out.
You are not to think, you are to do as you are told.
You are not to omit information you were told to convey to flood victims in the Restore Louisiana Homeowners Program. The Federal Allocations does not have a waiver of information and each of you are to be held responsible for your actions on a federally funded program to include your immediate management. (Linked below is the total number and location by Parish of homeowners that need to ask for more time. You can also use this list to see how many homeowners the state was willing to DECLINE a GRANT for not working at their pace.)

 

Original Post:

On July 31, 2019 the State of Louisiana by Executive Order BJE-2016-65 under the guidance of OCD-DRU Director Patrick Forbes will pull the 2016 flood recovery grants from 1,565 homeowners if their grant closing documents are not signed and all program required documents are collected and approved. 

Your grant will be REVOKED, CANCELLED, RESCINDED if you do not sign and close on the grant award by end of day July 31, 2019.

Updated 7-9-2019: State Office of Community Development asked that you DO NOT CALL your OHSEP regarding the SBA Loan's or Restore Louisiana Program issues.

I believe because you risk becoming homeless and many of you do not have your home rebuilt enough to weather a storm you should reach out for a "Game Plan" as we are with Livingston Parish OHSEP on how to prepare for disaster while recovering from a disaster.

Regarding the Deadline of July 31, 2019 related to the HUD CDBG-DR Floods of 2016 recovery you will need to follow the instructions in the update to save yourself from being revoked, canceled, terminated from the program. Our household has filed for an exceptions board review of our request for additional time so foundation engineers can complete their tasks. Once we hear we have been granted more time we'll update this post. Until that time and because this has all be verbally conveyed to us we will continue to share our experiences with all of those in our nation that are recovering from disasters using the long term recovery assistance HUD CDBG-DR offers each state. Basically, we still have 1,565 homeowners at risk of losing $58,100,192.15 in grants that we know will go to the Governor and fuel their agenda's while leaving the people of Louisiana asking "How did this come to pass?"

We ask HUD to assist in this matter with HUD national objectives in mind to remedy this issue.

Homeowners can no longer communicate with the program since Director Patrick Forbes dismissed the Louisiana Task Force members of their duties. Complaints are filed but with such a short deadline and knowing policy homeowners will not be offered an exceptions board review. We are all facing an ever changing pattern to state managed and state sub-contractor managed recovery efforts. Policy changes that work against homeowners of low to moderate income as well as average income will cause additional blight, homelessness and force families to live in unsafe houses. We ask you all to stop the state of Louisiana OCD-DRU policy makers and this deadline. We ask that you speak with Director Patrick Forbes and point out to him homeowners are working as fast as possible with the least amount of resources in hand. We need HUD to intervene and assist the state with a more logical approach to ending a program with a more realistic timeline and notification process. 
 

List of Homeowners at RISK of losing their allocated grant by Parish.

This list does not include or reflect any SBA households according to the Pipeline Report used to generate the list. This list includes all income ranges. This list is exclusive to Homeowner Managed (Solution 2) reconstruction and repair households who received a grant award, have accepted the grant award but have not closed on the grant award for any number of reasons. THIS IS NOT SBA RELATED, please read completely to understand the issue.

  1. Acadia 24 families at risk of losing 24 grants totaling $1,035,996.80 
  2. Allen 1 family at risk of losing 1 grant total $31,212.64
  3. Ascension 110 families at risk of losing 110 grants totaling $4,028,782.77 
  4. Avoyelles 0
  5. Beauregard 1 family at risk of losing 1 grant total $48,099.58
  6. Bienville 0
  7. Bossier 8 families at risk of losing 8 grants totaling $322,176.47 
  8. Caddo 4 families at risk of losing 4grants totaling $205,239.18
  9. Calcasieu 5 families at risk of losing 5 grants totaling $180,802.93
  10. Caldwell 5 families at risk of losing 5 grants totaling $275,365.43 
  11. Catahoula 2 families at risk of losing 2 grants totaling $166,704.95
  12. Claiborne 1 family at risk of losing 1 grant totaling $37,818.96
  13. Concordia 0
  14. De Soto 4 families at risk of losing 4 grants totaling $144,592.20
  15. East Baton Rouge 627 families at risk of losing 627 grants totaling $21,358,976.98
  16. East Carrol 1 family at risk of losing 1 grant total $43,410.60
  17. East Feliciana 14 families at risk of losing 14 grants totaling $577,699.95
  18. Evangeline 5 families at risk of losing 5 grants totaling $202,433.60
  19. Franklin 0
  20. Grant 3 families at risk of losing 3 grants totaling $162,472.79
  21. Iberia 19 families at risk of losing 19 grants totaling $737,658.22
  22. Iberville 3 families at risk of losing 3 grants totaling $152,477.83
  23. Jefferson Davis 2 families at risk of losing 2 grants totaling $138,804.02
  24. Lafayette 35 families at risk of losing 35 grants totaling $1,069,792.77
  25. LaSalle 1 family at risk of losing 1 grant total $41,382.29
  26. Lincoln 0
  27. Livingston 392 grants totaling $14,242,852.13
  28. Madison 0
  29. Morehouse 8 families at risk of losing 8 grants totaling $423,526.72
  30. Natchitoches 7 families at risk of losing 7 grants totaling $309,144.99
  31. Ouachita 66 families at risk of losing 66 grants totaling $2,489,123.10
  32. Plaquemines 0
  33. Pointe Coupee 5 families at risk of losing 5 grants totaling $297,152.44
  34. Rapides 3 families at risk of losing 3 grants totaling $167,771.69
  35. Red River 0
  36. Richland 6 families at risk of losing 6 grants totaling $320,327.97
  37. Sabine 0
  38. St. Helena 16 families at risk of losing 16 grants totaling $757,536.25
  39. St. James 0
  40. St. Landry 15 families at risk of losing 15 grants totaling $736,704.95
  41. St. Martin 12 families at risk of losing 12 grants totaling $540,068.98
  42. St. Tammany 13 families at risk of losing 13 grants totaling $562,744.35
  43. Tangipahoa 85 families at risk of losing 85 grants totaling $3,503,704.57
  44. Union 3 families at risk of losing 3 grants totaling $105,764.61
  45. Vermilion 28 families at risk of losing 28 grants totaling $1,089,879.81
  46. Vernon 8 families at risk of losing 8 grants totaling $309,296.01
  47. Washington 10 families at risk of losing 10 grants totaling $658,970.55
  48. Webster 7 families at risk of losing 7 grants totaling $335,506.50
  49. West Baton Rouge 0
  50. West Carroll 3 families at risk of losing 3 grants totaling $141,283.86
  51. West Feliciana 2 families at risk of losing 2 grants totaling $76,530.35
  52. Winn 1 family at risk of losing 1 grant total $70,401.36

Message to HUD CDBG-DR and Grantees.

Many homeowners are looking for or waiting for contractor quotes, foundation engineering and home blueprints to start reconstruction of their substantially damaged, condemned or demolished homes. Other homeowners are waiting for financial resources to purchase materials and pay for skilled labor to complete repairs of flood damaged homes.

On June 12, 2019 the state sent out a notices to homeowners that their grants would be cancelled on July 31, 2019 if they were not moving forward through the program at the pace that the state OCD-DRU controlled by Governor Edwards demands. The OCD-DRU will find homeowners that do not meet the deadlines as "Not Cooperative" and will cancel their grant awards without the right to appeal according to state OCD-DRU policy makers.

In accordance with federal register notices and allocations this deadline effects more than $8 million in grants and would actually require approval from HUD to cancel grant awards previously allocated to homeowners. This would also need to be presented to the public with an open meeting of current task force members present to allow for discussion and a vote. The state OCD-DRU Director has excused the task force from service to the Restore Louisiana Homeowners Program in Feb. 2019 which may have been done prematurely. Will this new policy change made to homeowners on such notice fund other programs once the homeowners are stripped of their grant awards? It appears so, based on history with the current leadership and policy makers at the Louisiana Office of Community Development Disaster Recovery Unit. 

The announcement is estimated to effect 1,565 homeowners totaling approximately $58 million in grant awards allocated to the homeowners, based on the most recent pipeline report published June of 2019. The state added policy to allow 360 days for the homeowner to complete repairs or reconstruction and made this retroactive to the date of grant closing for all homeowners. This changes the timelines most homeowners were given by state officials in Feb of 2019 from "It takes time, we know it and we'll allow you the time." to "...grant offered will be rescinded..." on July 31, 2019. 

State changed policy and rules mid-game. 

Homeowners frustrated over the years working with the Restore Louisiana Homeowners Program and the state leadership are so stressed by this deadline they have mentally started to shut down without any hope of any recovery assistance. Others are ready to walk away including those that will not finish their repairs and will have to return all the grant money that was given to them so far. Living in a home substantially damaged by the flood with no walls will be the normal home for many in the program with this end date July 31, 2019.
 

Resources HUD CDBG-DR:

 


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