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Stage Agency to Strengthen Efforts to Recapture Grant Funds; Working to Bring Homeowners into Compliance

April 16, 2013

Baton Rouge - The state Office of Community Development – Disaster Recovery Unit today announced that it has begun a review of compliance, recovery and collection procedures for the Road Home, Small Rental and Hazard Mitigation Grant programs to ensure the most efficient and effective grant recapture processes possible.

OCD-DRU has tasked CohnReznick, a business and financial consulting agency already contracted with the state agency, to head up the review. The review will also enlist the support of CGI Technologies and Solutions, Inc., which recently assisted the state in an analysis of debts owed to the state and to help formulate a plan to improve state government debt collections.

“The state takes seriously its commitment to restore the residential property damaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita and seeing that residents who so desire are able to return home. OCD-DRU also takes seriously its fiduciary responsibility both to the state and federal taxpayers,” said Pat Forbes, executive director of the Office of Community Development.

CohnReznick and CGI will conduct a thorough review of OCD-DRU’s policies and procedures, including those for compliance, recovery, and collection, and provide an assessment on how the agency can better work to recapture grant funds owed back to the Road Home, Small Rental and Hazard Mitigation Grant programs.

While that task is ongoing, the state continues to work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to modify Road Home programs in an effort to assist some homeowners who have not yet completed their construction, as well as working aggressively with HUD to ensure that homeowners are brought into compliance. The program modifications, expected to be reviewed within the next six weeks, are expected to help a number of currently non-compliant Road Home applicants become compliant, and more importantly get back into their homes.

“Our first goal is to assist residents who want to come back home to be able to do so,” said Forbes. “We know that a non-compliant applicant represents not only a family that is not back in their home, but likely a blighted property in a neighborhood. While grant recipient compliance is our primary goal, grant recapture and recovery is also ongoing, and will continue as more applicants are identified as non-compliant and unable to be assisted through other compliance means. 

The primary goal of the Office of Community Development is to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Louisiana. OCD consists of three sections: the Community Development Block Grant Program; the Local Government Assistance Program and the Disaster Recovery Unit. All work together to achieve this goal.