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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2010
Contact: Christina Stephens, christina.stephens@la.gov

State of Louisiana Rolls Out Deadlines for Some Road Home, Small Rental Applicants
More than 1,500 applicants, $53 million in recovery funds affected

BATON ROUGE - The State of Louisiana began notifying homeowners and landlords last week of pending deadlines in the Road Home and Small Rental Property Repair programs, which will affect homeowners who refuse to close on their grants and landlords who have yet to move forward in the program.

In total, the state has reserved more than $59 million for these groups of landlords and homeowners in its $13.4 billion Community Development Block Grant funded plan for recovery from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. CDBG dollars fund the Road Home, which offers homeowners funds to rebuild or repair their home or buys their property so that they might relocate, and also the Small Rental Property Repair program, which helps landlords with small developments - usually two to four units - rebuild their units in exchange for offering affordable rents to the public for a specific amount of time.

"Now is the time for those homeowners and landlords who have been in the program for years to decide if they will move forward and participate in the program," said Robin Keegan, executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. "The state is not just placing deadlines on homeowners and landlords - we have notified a number of school boards and parish governments of deadlines to participate in rebuilding programs."

"As we approach the five year anniversaries of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, the state is taking a serious look at the status of recovery in an effort to align existing resources with unmet needs to ensure our recovery dollars are making an impact in returning citizens to more resilient communities," Keegan said.

In total, the Road Home program has paid more than $8.42 billion to 127,112 homeowners and the Small Rental program has paid more than $143.3 million to landlords, creating 3,139 rental units.

ROAD HOME DEADLINE

State files show 1,032 homeowners in the Road Home program "refuse to close" on their Road Home grants. These homeowners are not affected by title issues and are not appealing their grant amounts, so they could close, yet they have not set a closing date after many months or years. In total, the state has reserved $26 million in grant funds for these homeowners to rebuild.

The state began mailing affected homeowners letters this week informing them that they had 30 days to close on their grants or their application will be withdrawn from the program. This deadline does not affect several hundred homeowners still working through legal issues or those in appeals.

SMALL RENTAL PROPERTY PROGRAM DEADLINE

Two groups of landlords in the SRPP have upcoming deadlines: 335 landlords who have not yet proven they own their properties and 168 landlords who have not yet returned their signed commitment letters. These deadlines affect $33.7 million in program funds.

The first group, the 335 landlords, have had outstanding title issues for a number of years in the program. These 335 landlords have 30 days to either show the state that they have clear title to their properties or demonstrate that they are making progress toward proving clear title, including showing that they have retained legal counsel for assistance. Failure to do so will result in their no longer being active in the program, and their grant funds being reallocated in the program.

The second group of 168 landlords has failed after a number of years to return their signed commitment letters to the program, formally accepting their awards. They have 30 days to do so or they will no longer be active in the program and their grant funds will be reallocated in the program.

Homeowners and landlords with questions about deadlines in either program should call 1-888-762-3252 for more information.

Created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita in 2005, the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the coordinating and planning body leading the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history. The central point for hurricane recovery in Louisiana, the LRA works closely with the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and partners with state and federal agencies to oversee more than $20 billion worth of programs, speed the pace of rebuilding, remove hurdles and red tape and ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before.

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