Sept. 30, 2011
BATON ROUGE, La. - In an effort to allow homeowners to make informed contractor decisions, the Office of Community Development - Disaster Recovery Unit has published lists of contractors that are suspended or disqualified from the state's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program online at mitigatela.org.
The site contains three lists - contractors that the OCD-DRU has put on suspension, contractors that are disqualified and contractors that the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors has placed on probation. The OCD-DRU will update the lists as necessary. Program staff will also contact homeowners working with these contractors to discuss with them their options in the program.
The Hazard Mitigation program tracks contractor performance to ensure that contractors are completing their work correctly and in a timely fashion. Effective September 1, 2011, any contractor having 50 percent or more of its projects in excess of the OCD-DRU HMGP allotted timeframes for completion may be suspended from receiving advance payments on new projects until such time as the contractor brings their portfolio of projects into compliance.
Suspension may also occur during periods which OCD-DRU is investigating information indicating that a contractor is utilizing practices which are not compliant with the policies and procedures of the OCD-DRU HMGP.
In total, six contractors are suspended, which means they cannot receive any new Advanced Payment Option funds.
The program evaluates a contractor's workload every 60 days to determine if the company should move on or off of the suspension list. Any suspended contractor may appeal at any time by providing additional information to OCD-DRU.
Contractors that do not have and maintain the necessary licenses to conduct the construction activities funded under the HMGP may be listed as disqualified. This may include both the actual construction companies as well as construction management companies.
Additionally, companies or persons, whether they are construction companies or other companies that OCD-DRU believes have repeatedly violated the threshold requirements or contractors otherwise determined to be out of compliance with HMGP policies (quality of workmanship, insurance, etc) or the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors regulations (licensing, etc) may be disqualified from working in the OCD-DRU Hazard Mitigation program. If a company is listed as disqualified due to a lack of license, it may request to be taken off the disqualified list upon demonstrating it has acquired the necessary license and is compliant with other requirements of the OCD-DRU HMGP.
In total, 18 companies are disqualified, which means they cannot receive any payments under the HMGP program.
The Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors may also impose penalties on contractors for failure to comply with state regulations. Two weeks ago, the Board placed seven contractors on probation, instructing its staff to closely monitor their activities and requiring each contractor to submit monthly reports to the Board.
REPORTING CONTRACTOR PROBLEMS TO HMGP
Homeowners can report poor workmanship by their contractors, enter into mediation through the program and change contractors without penalty if the contractor will not correct problems with the construction.
Homeowners with problems with the quality of their contractor's work can start this process by calling their Mitigation Analyst or the HMGP hotline at 1-877-824-8312, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, homeowners can report potential contractor fraud to the new HMGP fraud hotline at 1-877-851-9380 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
As of September 27, the Disaster Recovery Unit's Hazard Mitigation program has paid more than $327.6 million to more than 7,100 households. This is in addition to more than $929.7 million in elevation grants paid to almost 32,000 homeowners and more than $116.8 million in Individual Mitigation Measures grants paid to more than 15,500 homeowners through the Road Home program.
Total recovery dollars for mitigation paid directly to homeowners in Louisiana to protect their homes from future damage now tops $1.37 billion.
The Disaster Recovery Unit within the Office of Community Development is dedicated to helping Louisiana's citizens recover from hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. As the state's central point for hurricane recovery, the OCD-DRU manages the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history, working closely with local, state and federal partners to ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before.