It was stated by OCD-DRU Director Patrick Forbes that the grant award program will end for Solution One Disaster victims by the end of August and for Solution Two grant awards to end by the end of December 2018.
HUD states within 6 years of the execution of the grant agreement:
"Pursuant to the Prior Notice, each grantee is required to expend 100 percent of its allocation of CDBG-DR funds on eligible activities within 6 years of HUD's execution of the grant agreement."
- Resource Federal Register Notice 1-18-2017
The State of Louisiana OCD-DRU filed no less than 1 grant extension request with HUD asking for a delayed start date for the "Execution of the Grant Agreement" to which HUD denied. HUD stated the reason to be the State of Louisiana has delayed 18 months post declared disaster date and no additional delays will be granted. HUD Public Document Resource.
Fast forward 18 months from August, 13, 2016 to Feb. 2018 when the OCD-DRU started producing notable grant execution numbers on behalf of the disaster victims. These numbers increased for the first quarter of 2018 more than 50% percent when compared to the last quarter of 2017 numbers released to the public.
The production increase would need to continue to increase monthly to reach the HUD required goal of 80% of all allocations be used to fund unmet needs in the most impacted areas.
Federal Register Notice 1-17-2018:
"At least 80 percent of the total funds provided to each State under this notice must address unmet needs within the HUD-identified “most impacted and distressed" areas, as identified in the last column in Table 1. For grantees that received an allocation under the Prior Notice, 80 percent of both allocations may be used to address unmet needs within the HUD-identified “most impacted and distressed” areas that are identified in Table 1 of this notice. "
Taking the public number of grant awards "Allocated" not necessarily "Executed" or "Accepted" by the homeowners in the amount of $344 million we would have to increase today's number to $1,048,000,000.00 by the end of December 2018 to be in compliance with HUD's Federal Register Notice 1-18-2017.
To achieve this goal, the state OCD-DRU and it's contractors would have to increase production to award or deny grants totaling roughly $704,000,000.00. Based on the history of Restore this goal is not realistic.
When our 2016 disaster victims asked that the program speed up we did not ask that the program end 4 to 5 years before HUD's requested end date. We all want to be able to appeal the mistakes made by IEM and the Restore Program, we need the time to have our own audits completed to identify mistakes in the Estimated Cost of Repair survey, this is just one of the many mistakes from AMI percentages to missing rooms in repair surveys reported by homeowners.
We appreciate the effort to speed things up, but let's place a closing date on the program that meets the required closing date HUD stated in it's 1-18-2017 Federal Register Notice.
We ask the Task Force to VOTE NO on any program closing date prior to the HUD requested date which based on the Federal Notice would be 1-18-2023, 6 years from the publish date of the notice.
Facts: Hurricane Katrina; the average time to completely close out a homeowners grant award was 4.1 years based on the Action Plans published data.
Disaster Recovery takes time, we know it, but to close the last and final federal resource down to those that still are fighting policy and law regarding the grant award would be taking the funds designed to help permanently away from the people that need the help.
PLEASE VOTE NO ON CLOSING OUR PROGRAM BEFORE HUD's EXPECTED DATE Estimated to be 1-18-2023.
FACT CHECK Resource, April 13, 2018 Task Force Meeting and Federal Register Notice by the Housing and Urban Development Department on 01/18/2017