184. Truth, Transparency and the Governors Disaster Team.

Governor Edwards July 13, 2018: "And I want to stress to everyone here today, and those watching online, again, the expansion of reimbursement funds will not jeopardize any potential grant funds available in the future to homeowners affected by Small Business Administration loan duplication of benefits. Should HUD tell us that the program no longer needs to consider declined SBA loans as a duplication of benefits, either because their interpretation of federal law changes, or because the law itself changes."

Governor Edwards October 11, 2019: "Since receiving HUD's original SBA guidance, the Program expedited reimbursement to nearly 870 homeowners who received over $16 million in funds that were previously inaccessible due to federal regulations that required even the undisbursed portions of SBA loans to be considered DOB whether the loans were canceled, declined, or accepted."

Truth: HUD Guidance 2019 enforced Public Law 115-123 on state officials that were actually talking about not following the law just months earlier.

1,168 homeowners were relieved from the SBA Declined Loan issue that covered all income ranges.
State officials worked hard to reduce the number of new claims by setting deadlines and were successful with their efforts and reduced the 1,168 Declined loan members by 300 households. They convinced them they would not make it, sent termination letters, letters threatening their grants. The state then created a process to categorized households they forced out as "Voluntary Withdrawal" from the program. You can see in the Pipeline Reports the section "Withdrawn" and see after 3 years just how many people were forced out of the program.

Management pushed back on HUD's demands to reimburse homeowners for SBA loans. The state management even said that the costs to mail homeowners checks would be hard to balance and cost justify. The cost of processing a two party check was more than the $354 million contract IEM secured could handle and was not budgeted. The state discussed having homeowners drive to the Restore center to sign the checks because they felt you wouldn't send the check to the SBA. Then they told HUD they didn't trust homeowners to endorse a check and use a self addressed envelope to send the check to the SBA. Each time the state asked HUD for ways not to send homeowners checks added 30 more days of delays.

The state, since June 12, 2019 pushed back on everything related to paying SBA loans. The state dropped over 600 households within 30 days of the HUD Guidance. The state sabotaged Mortgage Assistance for the 3 time and made rental assistance harder to get.

I've called the Governors office and I have asked for a Face to Face with 100 other homeowners. I have called the Governors Office and asked for a Face to Face with 5 homeowners. I have called the Governors office for a face to face with just me. Each time I am told "The governor doesn't meet with people." I'm guessing People means Citizens of the state of Louisiana.

I continue to collect information, I speak with management about the topics you are concerned about and I publish my concerns and my findings.

As of today, the state of Louisiana Governor Edwards Disaster Team has been ordered by HUD to pay 870 homeowners. I was not offered names or groups but I can say from reading these 870 could be the "Declined" SBA loan Public Law 115-123 people less the 300 the state pushed out of the program with deadlines.

This was the only promise made by Governor Edwards in 2018 and 2019. He never said he was going to help with Public Law 115-254 he only said "Declined" SBA loan which is Public Law 115-123.

The Governor never lied to you, I feel he was banking on you not knowing the difference between Public Laws 115-123 and 115-254. I believe he did the political thing and took advantage of an uninformed citizen population.


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