Louisiana Ends Road Home Program after 17 Years
The year was 2005. Mother Nature was out of control during Hurricane Season and Louisiana took it on the chin not once but twice. 2005 was the season of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Katrina made landfall along Louisiana's southeastern coast and created flooding of epic proportions in New Orleans and the surrounding areas.
About one month after Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana Hurricane Rita came ashore in southwestern Louisiana. It too was a powerful storm that caused millions of dollars in damage. Two epic storms, one epic hurricane season, and hundreds if not thousands of Louisiana families left with no place to go.
That's where Louisiana's Road Home Hurricane Recovery Program stepped in. The program was created as a way to get money into people's hands so they could repair and in many cases elevate their homes from deadly storm surges or flooding.
The problem with the Road Home was this. When people received the grant money, they used it to repair their homes so they could live in them. Elevating the home was not the priority, however, that was the purpose of the grant and anyone who used Road Home money for other purposes was technically in violation of the law.
Over the course of the next several years following 2005 several thousand lawsuits were filed against Louisiana homeowners who "misspent" Road Home money. Now those remaining Road Home lawsuits have been dropped as the state officially sunsets the Road Home Recovery Program.
That means that the money that was allegedly misspent will stay misspent and those who did not follow the rules won't have to pay restitution. So, for those families who have been battling in and out of court over allegations that they did not use federal aid money correctly their legal nightmare is now over.
Let's hope we can take the lessons learned over the past 17 years and put them in a better plan for recovery for when Louisiana is hit by its next hurricane. We hope that won't be anytime soon but with Mother Nature, you never know.
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