Monday, March 12, 2007

Road Home Says No

Yesterday, I attended an application workshop for the Road Home Small Rental Properties Program in hopes that I might get some state money to assist in fixing up my house. The program awards forgivable loans to owners of 1-4 unit properties in hurricane-damaged areas, provided they rent their units for affordable prices. Deal. I wasn't going to charge a lot anyway. There are LOTS of landlords in New Orleans now who are taking advantage of the housing shortage by hiking up rent. I don't need to do that.

Anyway, I figured that, unlike the Historic Grant, I might actually have a good chance of getting this money. My house is one unit and it is definitely in a hurricane damaged area. It's also in a historic district that has been on the city's "revitalization" list for a while. I figured there was no reason I SHOULDN'T get this money. The State of Louisiana disagreed, however. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the first two lines on the second page of the application -

If the answer to the following question is NO, you are not eligible for the Small Rental Property Program:

Were you a Louisiana resident at the date of Hurricane Katrina or Rita?


Can I get ANY assistance? I couldn't get any FEMA money because the property wasn't my primary residence and no one was living there at the time of the storm. I couldn't get any insurance money for flood damage because I did not have flood insurance. I didn't get flood insurance because it NEVER floods in that area. That neighborhood didn't even flood when Hurricane Betsy (the worst hurricane to hit New Orleans before Katrina) hit in 1965. A month after I bought the property, the entire city flooded, however. I'm not eligible for any Road Home Homeowner's money because it wasn't my primary residence. And now I'm not eligible for the Small Rental Property money because I wasn't a resident at the time of the storm. Will they consider the fact that I was born and raised here... and that I quit my job and moved down here in order to work on my house? Can I get SOMETHING?

Anyway, I put my emotions aside and did not let this painful news get me down. There were advisors at the application workshop whose job it was to answer any questions we might have. I waited in line to speak to one of these fine people. I asked my question and was surprised that even she seemed puzzled. She explained to me that the rules for these programs are changing constantly and that the rule-makers may not have considered applicants in my position. She advised me to apply anyway and talk to my local representative. More work. But is that not what I am here to do? Yes, it is. So I'm up for it. I will speak to local representative. I hope that these rules change.


nina said...

You are just as your last post was titled...Beauty amidst destruction...i admire your "stickwithitness". Bring the sunshine dammit...give them new perspective...affect change as you have always done...keep pushing love

Anonymous said...

There is always another way... keep pushing.


aminisha said...

i liked how you were talking through it at the end and said it'll be more work, but isn't that what i'm here for? it made smile, like you're girding yourself up and digging in your heels to handle some business! yeah, it's tiring, but supposedly with beaurocracy, "the squeaky wheel gets the oil" or something like that?

Diana said...

Damn bureaucratic bullshit. Don't let this get you down Jenga, it's just a temporary roadblock. You'll find a way around, over or under it, I know you will. You're a smart lady.

Mtume said...

Sup there, Jenger? I love your photo captions: "Katrina, play nice." "Hello, gross bathtub. ... Why are you pink?"

That's funny. You're funny. I also can't decide if you're brave or crazy for going back to the city by choice. Man, oh man.

But hey. Don't let the red tape get you down. Keep on keeping on...

- Mtume.

CoachingByPeter said...

It is also important to know information about your location's flood risk to have an idea on how much water might get into your place. Info can be avail in floodplain management office or building department. Anyone can be a victim of financial difficulties because of the damages that brought about by flooding.