Monday, November 06, 2006



The much-vaunted Road Home relief program is off to a slow start, to put it mildly. Meanwhile, homeowners remain in limbo.

By Gwen Filosa

(A)ccording to ICF International, the contractor hired to parcel out the $7.5 billion in federal relief money, only 1,351 awards have even been calculated for a total of $78.9 million, most of which has not been disbursed, and won't be until the prospective recipients either hire contractors or decide they would prefer to accept a buyout offer from the state and move on.

At last count Friday, only 18 Road Home awards have been deposited into "disbursement accounts" for homeowners to start their home repairs. The total amount doled out was $693,215.

"It is a big program to set up. It is phenomenal," said Walter Leger, a St. Bernard Parish lawyer who leads the housing task force for the Louisiana Recovery Authority, the agency created by Gov. Kathleen Blanco to manage the state's post-hurricane revival.

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