Thursday, November 20, 2008

State of Louisiana Issues Last Call for Homeowners Interested in Road Home Elevations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

November 20, 2008

MEDIA CONTACT:

Christina Stephens
Louisiana Recovery Authority
225.342.1790
christina.stephens@la.gov


State of Louisiana Issues Last Call for Homeowners Interested in Road Home Elevations

Pace of payouts has increased, will exceed half a billion by year's end

BATON ROUGE, La. - Road Home applicants who are interested in receiving elevation funding from the Road Home program must return their Elevation Incentive Forms to the program by December 5, 2008.

In April, the program began mailing letters to Road Home applicants who were potentially eligible to receive elevation funding for their homes. The letters described elevation programs that were being offered by the Road Home and by the state under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Included with the letter were interest forms for both programs, which applicants were required to return to the program if they wished to be considered for elevation funding. Continued inquiries, educational opportunities presented by August outreach events and a steady flow of letters returned to the program after the original cutoff led the state to continue accepting interest forms, thus bringing more than 6,300 additional applicants into the elevation program.

A deadline of December 5, 2008, has been set for all Road Home Elevation Incentive Forms to be returned to the program. It is important to note that although a deadline has been established for Road Home forms to be returned, the state will continue to accept interest forms for the HMGP Elevation program past this deadline.

"We wanted to bring as many people as possible into the elevation program, which is why we have been accepting these forms, in hopes of identifying as many applicants as possible," said Paul Rainwater, executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. "That said, it is time for the interest period for Road Home elevations to come to an end, so we are issuing one last call for homeowners to return these forms within the next two weeks."

"The pace of this program has sped up significantly because of the decision to pay homeowners a flat elevation amount, rather than using a complicated formula to determine awards. We've paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in the past few weeks and we are very likely to pass the half-billion mark before the end of the year," Rainwater said.

So far, the Road Home has paid $418 million to 14,651 homeowners through its elevation program. The vast majority of this progress has been since the state restarted the program earlier in the year and streamlined the process by offering flat grant awards to homeowners. Another 3,983 elevation payouts, totaling almost $116 million, are in the pipeline to close at the closing companies.

The state Hazard Mitigation Program has started a pilot program for several hundred homeowners, including one-on-one meetings with these homeowners and visits to their homes. It anticipates cutting its first checks before the end of the year.

By signing these forms, homeowners are ONLY indicating interest in learning more about these elevation funds. Returning the forms does not guarantee the receipt of an award, nor does it obligate a homeowner to accept an award.

Homeowners who returned these forms should have received a postcard confirming receipt. Homeowners who have not received an elevation information letter, but believe they are eligible for elevation funds may contact the Road Home by calling 1-888-762-3252. Also, homeowners who have need to request another copy of their letter may do so by calling this number.

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