IEM Inc. managing long term CDBG-DR disaster recovery fails to send policy change notices to flood victims.
Since being awarded the contract to manage the taxpayer funded long term recovery program provided by HUD and CDBG-DR funds IEM Inc. has failed to keep disaster victims updated to policy and procedural changes. Communications and Transparency fail.

By Murray Wennerlund published 10-29-2018 updated 1-15-2022

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A small poll was conducted within a private group of over 400 Louisiana flood victims in the Facebook Group Restore LA Program Info Exchange in the state of Louisiana. We asked if anyone has ever received a change notice to Policy and Procedures for the Restore Homeowners Program. 

It was not unexpected to learn that 100% of the respondents all stated that they have singed up for Social Media updates as well as Email updates and have not once received an update to policy and procedure changes published in the homeowners manual.

This information distribution is the responsibility of the state hired contractor IEM Inc. out of North Carolina. It is this management group responsibility for training of call center, social media and special groups within the recovery program called Restore LA Homeowners Assistance Program. It was found that 100% of our members polled have not received a single update notice to policy and procedures. 

A review of the policy changes that effected one of the most costly recovery groups shows that many homeowners spent hundreds of thousands of dollars with the grant expectations of reimbursement only to find that policy updates later after recovery efforts were completed penalized them from receiving any grant money at all. Mistakes on communications and the lack of transparency between the State of Louisiana Office of Community Development under the direction of Patrick Forbes and IEM Inc. a North Carolina based Risk Management company have completely failed any communications review when it comes to important notifications to active accounts in the homeowners assistance programs. Private groups have been formed to share information that should technically be sent in daily and weekly updates to the program. 

Currently homeowners have to visit this page and download the documents to compare if any changes have been made. At times the state of Louisiana has made changes and simply deleted documents without creating or editing a change log. This behavior was documented in APA 9 sent to HUD Washington DC

We feel the most important update homeowners need to be aware of is the Policy and Procedures manual which explains how the program managed by IEM Inc. allows you to repair and rebuild your home. The manual explains what the program pays for and what the program will not cover. It explains just enough to keep you safe from unexpected financial burden and complete recovery failure. But only if you are aware of policy and procedure changes published by the State of Louisiana OCD-DRU and IEM Inc.

One example, Elevation for homes being reconstructed have to be elevated to base flood elevation + 2 feet. This was not published until nearly 12 months after the program started and has penalized many homeowners hundreds of thousands because the homeowner was not aware of specific policy. We've documented every change to Solution 2 home reconstruction related to elevation from the very first policy and procedure manual published. We found no homeowners notified about the changes. Today many homeowners are not receiving grants simply because they were not informed, notified or told about policy and procedures. Read more here, State of Louisiana Reconstruction Guide from a Homeowners perspective that may end tragically.

We are spreading the word and asking homeowners to send the email published below to the people listed in the TO: and CC: lines. 

This is very important and it's part of the policy updates that allow the homeowner an opportunity to ask about policy that concerns them. Our first concern is policy update notifications which we currently have none other than a general notice from HUD. 

Please share this post and send the email below if you are a Louisiana Homeowner in the Restore LA Program.  

Background: Policy Change that allows you to now address IEM Inc (North Carolina) management directly with your concerns. 

==== Page 12 Program Manual Policy and Procedures published Oct. 12, 2018 version 4.1 ====
Manual version 4.1 Download link
Publications page the public has to visit weekly to check for any changes due to the fact that IEM Inc. does not notify homeowners of policy change.

Policy review and changes for RLHP are considered through a change control process. When, during the course of the Program, policy clarifications, additions, or deletions are needed to more precisely define the rules by which the Program will operate, Program staff submit a Policy Change Request Form or a Request for Decision Form through the Program SharePoint site for internal review by the Program Management Office (PMO). Within the PMO, two reviews are performed to verify that all relevant information and any supporting documentation are included in the request. Upon PMO concurrence that the request raises a policy issue, rather than a process issue, the Policy Change Request Form or Request for Decision is forwarded for OCD-DRU review. The requests are compiled and brought before the Policy CCB.

The Policy CCB is composed of OCD-DRU staff members representing OCD-DRU leadership, legal, and policy specialists, as well as IEM PMO and senior management staff members. Subject Matter Experts working in a particular policy area or task area that will be affected by the Policy CCB decision may be invited to assist in policy evaluation, if necessary.

The Policy CCB meets regularly to consider all pending requests that have been submitted via the previously described process. The Policy CCB meets as frequently as is necessary to consider policy decisions critical to moving the Program forward timely. The schedule for Policy CCB meetings is expected to move to a lower frequency as the Program matures."

Part 3 of 3 Restore Transparency and Communications 
(Part 1 and 2 are published in the group.)

EMAIL policy review and concern following policy "POLICY CHANGE CONTROL BOARD (Policy CCB) request".

====== YOUR EMAIL ========


Subject: Policy Manual Restore LA Homeowner Policies and Procedures version updates.

Mr. Jon Mabry,
According to Policy Manual version 4.1 we are allowed to submit policy change requests and concerns to IEM PMO and senior management staff members.
ISSUE: Restore has promoted and advertised on many occasions to sign up and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Email subscripts for program updates. We have received ZERO update notices related to the RLHP Policy and Procedures manual. We would like the program to update us via Social Media and direct email regarding all major and minor changes, updates, edits of the homeowners policy and procedures manual.

[Your Name]
[Account Number]