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HUD Sponsored the report that the State of Louisiana OCD-DRU created and presented. It was part of the National Disaster Resilience Competition HUD sponsored with $1 billion in grants. The competition is designed to provide a national model for adaptation. Louisiana wasn't first in prize money but it did earn it's spot amongst 13 other states.
The report is intended to serve as a national model for adaptation. The Department of Housing and Urban Development funded the $40 million project in 2016 through its National Disaster Resilience Competition, which allocated $1 billion to 13 states and cities, from California to Minot, N.D., to develop responses to climate change.
Date: 6-2-2019 Updated: 6-2-2019 Subject:
From 2017 Research into SBA Loans Declined by Households that were below 80% AMI and did not sign the closing documents.
June 6, 2017 Third Appropriation Funding Recommendation - Conference Calls between Restore Louisiana Task Force Members:
"HUD allows the state to provide assistance to LMI homeowners who were approved an SBA loan, but declined it and never entered into a loan agreement with SBA. The cost of providing assistance to these homeowners is approximately an additional $5,152,000."
Additional research showed that in 2016 the state anticipated only 109 households would be in this category.
Follow up research first quarter of 2018 showed that the state did not have a process in place to notify homeowners that matched the "HUD" Nov. 16, 2011 Hardship Guidance and appeared to simply ignore the topic and allow the homeowners to think they had to wait for the Congressional SBA fix.
Follow up research 2nd quarter of 2018 an Advocate Reporter messaged me telling me the state closed the "Loophole" (His word) and no other hardships were being processed. This was the same time they changed Homeowners Assistance Director from a state employee to a temporary hire from CSRS Inc. by the name of Stacy Bonnaffons. As you all are aware, Stacy was the topic of a contract that did not get renewed because of a conflict of interest within the program and possible bid rigging. She has been cleared by the state ethics board but only for what was published. Could this actually be the person that denied Low to Moderate Income families their Recovery funds by not declaring hardships in accordance with HUD Guidance of Nov. 16, 2011?
Conclusion: Since management change that included temporary hires from CSRS Inc. no additional homeowners that qualified for a hardship waiver have reached out to me to report their status.
Fall of 2018, document requests identified what could be a minimum of 1,158 homeowners incorrectly classified under the Duplication of Benefits calculation for SBA loans. The states legal department headed up by Dan Rees by not responded to my request to research this issue has in my opinion allowed HUD Core Objectives to be ignored and has penalized Moderate to Low income families by not researching the 1,158 homeowners which the numbers (not names) were given to me by the same legal department in which Dan Rees works.
News media was informed about this issue and felt it was not "News Worthy" .
I would like to find ONE family, one family that applied for the SBA loan, then declined to accept the loan, did not sign the closing paperwork and is below the 80% AMI household income.
Help me find just one household that matches the Guidance from Nov. 16, 2011 and you may have just helped one thousands households recover after the flood.
I'm posting this because a law firm stated if you can prove damages they would represent the 1,158 in a class action. The damages are in the email, estimated $5,152,000 that may or may not have been allocated to low to moderate income families by the state during the time of CSRS Inc management.
Date: 5-30-2019 Updated: 5-30-2019 Subject:
Rental assistance to tenants—42 U.S.C. 5305(a)(8) is modified to permit rental assistance for up to 24 months (State of Louisiana only).
The Department has received a request from the State of Louisiana to provide up to 24 months of tenant-based rental assistance (TBRA) to households impacted by a covered disaster when those households do not meet the definition of a "displaced person" under the URA. Existing CDBG regulations allow these payments to cover rent and utilities for a short period of time as a public service activity under 42 U.S.C. 5305(a)(8), but these payments cannot extend for so long that they no longer qualify as an eligible public service activity. Following a disaster, however, households may be forced to abandon their residences and may be unable to return if the damage to the units have made them uninhabitable. Furthermore, scarcity of affordable replacement units in the recovery period following a disaster, and security and utility deposits can further exacerbate affordability concerns for tenants. This waiver and alternative requirement will provide additional time to stabilize persons or households in permanent housing and is consistent with the goal of preventing homelessness.
Date: 5-28-2019 Updated: 5-28-2019 Subject:
GAO-19-232 2017 CDBG-DR Grants Page 22:
"Including SBA applicants that were denied assistance."
"Florida and Puerto Rico included SBA applicants whose units were not inspected because they were denied disaster loans, although the extent to which these units sustained damages was unknown. Florida estimated approximately $1.8 billion and Puerto Rico approximately $1.5 billion in housing needs for these SBA applicants. Florida and Puerto Rico officials told us that they included these applicants because being denied did not necessarily mean that these applicants did not experience losses. For example, SBA applicants can be denied loan assistance based on their inability to repay, despite potentially having unmet needs. Similarly, HUD officials explained that they consider applications that SBA has denied as a potential indicator of unmet needs."
For those of you in Florida, Puerto Rico or any other state or commonwealth that were denied by the SBA and not inspected you will have the right to have HUD CDBG-DR inspect your home and provide you with a damage assessment.
You also are nearly 100% qualified for a Hardship waiver because you have been "Denied" or "Declined" by the SBA and under the HUD Guidance of Nov. 16, 2011 that identifies you has an automatic hardship.
You will be provided HUD CDBG-DR grants after you report to your state grantee that you were declined by the SBA. Your state may not offer this information. The Datafeed the states subscribe to will not always provide data related to Declined loans and Cancellation codes related to agency declined loans.
Date: 5-14-2019 Updated: 5-14-2019 Subject:
Mr. Durbin opening statement.
Our administrative cost is budgeted below what HUD allows at only 4%, we want to spread this rebuilding assistance money to as many people, homeowners, renters, and small businesses as quickly as we possibly can, again, congress has appropriated $1.65 billion to Louisiana. We are awaiting HUD approval to receive these funds, but Louisiana remains $2 billion short of what the Governor has said our citizens need to rebuild, roughly, $3.8 billion is what the Governor has been requesting, so far, $1.65 billion has been appropriated. After seven trips to Washington, DC, since the floods, Governor Edwards continues to work with Louisiana's congressional delegation urging congress to bring home the additional $2 billion we need.
Date: 5-12-2019 Updated: 5-12-2019 Subject:
From: Restore Info [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Received: Wednesday, 27 Jun 2018, 12:50PM
Subject: Restore Louisiana Update: Eligibility
We are pleased to inform you that your grant award letter for the Restore Louisiana Homeowners Assistance Program is now available.
Login to your account through the eGrantsPlus Menu
Enter: Your Account ID, Last Name, and existing Password
Click the Application Tab in the left menu to begin
If you are a homeowner that applied for and was approved for a Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan, please know that Governor Edwards and the Office of Community Development continues to fight to provide some relief as it relates to your Duplication of Benefit (DOB) calculation. While we will continue to work with Louisiana's Congressional Delegation and leaders of Congress to address this issue, we are required to proceed with our program given the current rules and regulations.
Please note that if SBA has performed a new underwriting of your loan and determined the approved amount has decreased or has been fully cancelled due to a change in circumstances (e.g. loss or change of job, death of co-applicant, etc.), you may submit a letter from SBA detailing their determination of the revised loan amount to the Restore Louisiana Program. It is the homeowner's responsibility to contact SBA to request another underwriting and determination of eligible SBA assistance. If so, the Program will then recalculate your final grant amount based on your updated SBA award. Please note, that a homeowner's request to reduce their SBA loan amount without a revised determination issued by SBA will not result in a re-evaluation of your Restore award.
Note: If you have forgotten your password, click the key icon in the top right corner of the eGrantsPlus system, enter your Account ID and last name, and instructions to change your password will be sent to your email address.
If you need additional assistance, please call 866-735-2001 between 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday – Friday to speak with a program representative.
The Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program
Date: 4-23-2019 Updated: 4-23-2019 Subject:
I. Waiver and Alternative Requirement for HUD Review of Action Plans for Disaster Recovery and Action Plan Amendments Related to Funding Appropriated by Public Laws 115–123 and 115–56.
Public Law 115–123 1 appropriated $28 billion of Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery (CDBG–DR) funding for two purposes: (1) To address unmet needs arising from certain major declared disasters that occurred in 2017; and (2) To fund mitigation activities for all CDBG–DR grantees that received CDBG–DR funding in response to unmet needs arising from major disasters declared in 2015, 2016, and 2017. These funds were in addition to $7.4 billion appropriated by Public Law 115–56 2 for unmet needs arising from major declared disasters in 2017. HUD allocated virtually all funding for unmet needs 3 and established administrative requirements via two Federal Register Notices published on February 9, 2018 (83 FR 5844–5869) and August 14, 2018 (83 FR 40314–40325).
In general, the funds are to be used for activities authorized under Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C. 5301 et seq.) (HCD Act) related to disaster relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure and housing and economic revitalization in the "most impacted and distressed" areas defined by HUD. By providing the supplemental disaster recovery funding under Title I of the HCD Act, Congress implicates the general statutory and regulatory requirements of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
Both Public Law 115–123 and 115–56 include the following proviso with respect to CDBG–DR funding:
Provided further, That prior to the obligation of funds a grantee shall submit a plan to the Secretary for approval detailing the proposed use of all funds, . . . :
HUD's Federal Register Notice of February 9, 2018, establishes the requirements and criteria that inform these plans and substantial amendments thereto (see section VI., A.2., Action Plan for Disaster Recovery waiver and alternative requirement (83 FR 5849)). Section VI., A.2.(e) is entitled Review and Approval of Action Plan and states that "HUD will review each action plan within 45 days from the date or receipt." The above referenced requirements are also generally applicable to CDBG–DR funds allocated by the August 14, 2018, Notice, via Section II., "Use of Funds."
For CDBG–DR funds appropriated by Public Laws 115–123 and 115–56, HUD currently has three Action Plan Amendments (State of Florida, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands (USVI)) pending review and approval involving an aggregate of $9.3 billion. In addition, there are Action Plans from the states of California, Georgia and Missouri pending review and approval for an aggregate of $221 million.
Public Laws 115–123 and 115–56 also include the following proviso:
Provided further, That in administering the funds under this heading, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development may waive, or specify alternative requirements for, any provision of any statute or regulation that the Secretary administers in connection with the obligation by the Secretary or the use by the recipient of these funds (except for requirements related to fair housing, nondiscrimination, labor standards, and the environment), if the Secretary finds that good cause exists for the waiver or alternative requirement and such waiver or alternative requirement would not be inconsistent with the overall purpose of title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974:
This proviso enables HUD to waive various statutory requirements applicable to CDBG and to establish alternative requirements to those provisions. In this Notice, HUD is applying this authority to extend the period available for HUD review of pending Action Plan Amendments and Action Plans involving CDBG–DR funding under Public Laws 115–123 and 115–56.
Due to the lapse of FY 2019 appropriations for HUD as of December 21, 2018, HUD has already issued a regulatory waiver extending the HUD review period for the Action Plan Amendments submitted by Florida, Puerto Rico and the USVI from 45 days to 60 days, which is the period set forth under the applicable statutory provision (42 U.S.C. 12705(c)(1)) for consideration of housing strategy, which is analogous to an action plan or action plan amendment. HUD has not yet addressed the status of the pending Action Plans for California, Georgia and Missouri as the 45-day review period for these submissions occurs in late January, 2019. However, HUD cannot be assured of completing the reviews of these pending submissions and issuing affirmative approvals as required by Public Laws 115–123 and 115–56 given the impact upon HUD's operations during the appropriations lapse period. Therefore, the Secretary finds that there is good cause to waive the statutory sixty (60) day review deadline established by 42 U.S.C. 12705(c)(1) and is issuing an alternative requirement for review of pending Action Plan Amendments and Action Plans involving funding under Public Laws 115–123 and 115–56. HUD will review the pending Action Plan Amendments and Action Plans and provide affected grantees with a decision within a time period which will be announced by HUD after enactment of funding for the Department's normal operations.
Failure to extend the review period could lead to deemed approvals upon expiration of the customary 60-day review period, an outcome that would be inconsistent with both HUD's oversight responsibilities and the purposes of the CDBG–DR funding or, alternatively, disapproval. Grantees with pending submissions are advised that the extension of HUD's review period and resulting delays should not be considered a commentary on the submissions but is a recognition of the current circumstances.
Date: 4-20-2019 Updated: 4-20-2019 Subject:
Since researching issues within the Disaster Recovery Industry I have noticed change comes not from protesting in front of the state capital. It comes from actually publishing data and solutions for our government agencies to read, take ownership of and make happen.
With this said, I propose we publish verified data anonymously directed at the individual agencies that are holding us back.
1. HUD waiting on feedback from all state and commonwealths regarding the issue with SBA DOB. We can speed this process up by publishing facts to every governor so they don't waste time asking their state agencies to produce data showing HUD dollars are needed with SBA if selected.
2. SBA has to be shown as not following it's SOP. This data is very easy to find with OIG searches but I feel if we focus on the living expenses which are not taking into account we will have better results.
3. OMB (Office of Management and Budget) overseas all taxpayer dollar programs and is in place to reduce government waste, fraud, misuse, etc. This section within OMB is all about not using Taxpayer money to pay for Taxpayer Secured Loans (SBA). We find the solution that does not allow for agency dollars to overlap and you have your solution with the OMB.
4. State Grantee, Governors do have a HUD fund of $50 million annually to use as they please in times of disasters. The state knows how it can be "Creative" and move money from one program that is designed to fail to fund another program the state actually wants to fund. Construction Loans are being put into place that are forgivable at the time of completion, zero interest, zero payments. Those that have additional repairs or reimbursements according to policy should be allowed a piece of this taxpayer funded construction loan program.
It's mostly logical approaches that will get HUD to listen. I feel HUD is not close to offering Guidance related to the Stafford Act. I do feel we put all our eggs in one basket which isn't something to take to the bank. We are not limited to working just with our politicians. I really think the Senator from Nebraska may help more than the Senator from Louisiana and the Senators from New York and New Jersey are waiting for a group to resolve the DOB with SBA issue to keep homeowners from increasing their disaster recovery debt.
I haven't found any statistics showing the costs of disasters on homeowners. But if I took a small sample from our group I would guess most everyone has had at least a 25% increase in monthly expenses related to the disaster. Add that our current storm types and how frequently we are seeing them we'll need to add 2.5% per year if we could predict you would only have storm damage every 10 years.
This is what I feel, I know numbers count, real household numbers are better and when I incorporate what our state leaders say is "Excessive Monthly Debt." I can make a better argument that with or without SBA as a DOB your household has had an increased monthly debt since the flood and your pre - disaster income needs to increase or your post - disaster expenses need to be reduced. There is nothing in that which can be counted as a DOB when it protects your household from financial hardship / ruin / default / bankruptcy.
Date: 4-18-2019 Updated: 4-18-2019 Subject:
Date: 4-9-2019 Updated: 4-9-2019 Subject:
From: Aaron [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2018 12:16 PM
To: Johnny Bradberry
Subject: SBA Declined
My name is Aaron. I am writing you today in support of Mr. Murray Wennerlund's public input sent to you Thursday the 16th of August. I encourage you to place the solution for the SBA Declined loan issue on the Task Force agenda and to vote in favor of the policy to follow public law 115-123 as official state guidance for the estimated 3,800 Louisiana citizens that declined the SBA loan.
Thank you for your time.
Baton Rouge La, 70816
From: Johnny Bradberry
Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2018 2:00 PM
To: Lori Dupont
Subject: FW: SBA Declined
FYI---Got this today----I have not received a communication on August 16th as indicated here. Please pass on to Pat for review.
Johnny B. Bradberry
Executive Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Activities
From: Adam Knapp
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2018 5:17 AM
To: Pat Forbes; Dan Rees
Subject: Fwd: SBA Declined
Another one of these
Begin forwarded message:
- - -
From: Jimmy Durbin
Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2018 7:19 AM
To: Lori Dupont
Subject: Fwd: SBA Declined
Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:
From: Lori Dupont
Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2018 7:23 AM
To: 'Jimmy Durbin'
Subject: RE: SBA Declined
Thanks for forwarding to me, Mr. Durbin. We are currently working on a response and will include the TF members when we do.
Also, the next task force meeting is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, September 25, in Ouachita Parish (this hasn't been announced and the actual location has not been decided on) – would you be able to travel to Ouachita on that day and chair the meeting?
Executive Assistant to the Executive Director
Office of Community Development-Disaster Recovery Unit
State of Louisiana
From: Jimmy Durbin
Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2018 5:16 PM
To: Lori Dupont
Subject: Re: SBA Declined
Yes, I am happy to do so. Please update me on the location.
Sent from my iPhone
From: Jimmy Durbin
Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2018 5:17 PM
To: Lori Dupont
Subject: Fwd: SBA Decline
Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:
From: Wallace Aultman
Date: August 23, 2018 at 1:37:18 PM CDT
Subject: SBA Decline
I am writing to you today in support of Mr. Murray Wennerlund's public input sent to you Thursday the 16th of August. I encourage you to place the solution for the SBA Decline loan issue on the Task Force agenda and to vote in favor of the policy to follow public law 115-123 as official state guidance for the estimated 3,800 Louisiana citizens that Declined the SBA loan because it would have been a hardship on them financially.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
Prairieville, LA 70769
Sent from Mail for Windows 10
States Response and Wennerlunds Proposal:
From: Lori Dupont on behalf of Pat Forbes
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2018 11:19 AM
To: 'M W'
Cc: Adam Knapp; Commissioner Mike Strain; Darryl Gissel; Don Pierson; Dr. James Richardson; Shawn Wilson; Jacqui Vines Wyatt; Jimmy Durbin; John Gallagher; Johnny Bradberry; Mayor Dave Norris; Mayor Ollie Tyler; Mayor-President Joel Robideaux; Michael Faulk; Michael Olivier; Randy Clouatre; Representative Edward "Ted" James (2); Representative J. Rogers Pope; Representative Robert Shadoin; Roland Dartez; Sean Reilly; Senator Dan "Blade" Morrish; Aimee Richard; Arlene Adger; Barbara Marrable; Becky Perret; Cami Barlow; Enger Kinchen; Jane Lambert; 'Jayne Norton'; Julie Simms (jmullis@C100LA.org); Karen Brown; Karen White; Kimberly LaMotte; Michel Zambo; N Jarreau; Nancy Collie; Paine Gowen; Rhea Victorian; Rhonda Byrd; Sabrina Sentino; Susan Wassan
Subject: Murray Wennerlund, Task Force Public Input: Citizens Proposed SBA Disaster Federal Assistance Declined Solution
Attachments: CDBG-DR-Duplication-of-Benefit-Requirements-and-Provision-ofAssistance-with-SBA-Funds - Copy.pdf
Thank you for reaching out to the Restore Louisiana Task Force with both information and recommendations. As you know, the Governor and the Congressional delegation agree with your interpretation and have been working to correct this consideration of the SBA loans as a duplication of benefits. Unfortunately, we have, as yet, not received what we are looking for. Namely, either guidance from HUD clarifying that funds not drawn by an applicant do not count as DOB, or passage of federal legislation prohibiting federal agencies from counting loans as DOB. Until we get either of those, we are compelled by our obligation to spend the funds in compliance with HUD and other federal guidance. To not do so would put all the funds spent non-compliantly at risk of federal recapture.
The important distinction in this debate between the state and HUD is about the word "declined." HUD has so far insisted that “declined” means the homeowner never closed on the loan. We contend, like you, that "declined" means the funds were never drawn, regardless of whether the loan closed or not. Unfortunately, we must follow HUD's directions until they either change their interpretation, as requested by the Governor in April (http://gov.louisiana.gov/assets/docs/Letters/JBE-ltr-Carson-DOBApril-2018.pdf), or Congress passes the necessary legislation and the President signs it into law.
I mentioned above a letter from the Governor to the HUD Secretary about this matter. HUD's response to this letter references HUD's guidance of July 25, 2013 guidance. At this time, this guidance represents the rules we must follow. We are eager to assist those who have been approved for SBA loans and, as you've pointed out, have the funds available to do so. We are in complete agreement about the need to correct this issue, but it is not accurate to say that it is within our authority, under the current guidance, to provide funds to those who have been approved for an SBA loan and closed on that loan, regardless of whether they have drawn the funds or not. In short, changing our policy on SBA DOB requires a definitive change in directions from our funders in Washington, D.C.
We'd be glad to sit down with you and go over all these documents and correspondence if you like. And again, I thank you for your advocacy on this matter and look forward to being able to tell you soon that we've received the guidance we seek and are able to proceed with program policy changes.
Letter to Task Force Members: Task Force Public Input: Citizens Proposed
SBA Disaster Federal Assistance Declined Solution
EMail from Lori Dupont on behalf of Patrick Forbes.
Editors Note: In most of the 1,158 discovered homeowners that could have had their SBA grants waived because they were declined by agency it is estimated that only a small number may not have qualified. It is not based on income as many would think but it is based on if the SBA funds are available to you. If the SBA declines you and you are listed as an agency decline you will not qualify for any funds even if you were approved in the beginning. The SBA can decline you at anytime in the process even after the loan amount is approved.
Guidance on Duplication of Benefit Requirements and Provision of CDBG-DR Assistance:
Editors Note: Discovery via FOIA identified 1,158 of Agency Declined SBA loans. All or a major number of these homeowners would have been within the states Nov. 16, 2011 and July 25, 2013 Guidance if the state would have actually researched the claims made by Murray Wennerlund. The state published estimated number totally 109 homeowners that would qualify under the Guidance listed. Research found the 109 was not accurate and possibly as much as 1,158 homeowners incorrectly classified as having access to the SBA federal loan assistance but according to the SBA data they have been declined and are not able to receive SBA Loans as federal assistance.
Date: 4-8-2019 Updated: 4-8-2019 Subject:
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