Saturday, November 17, 2007

Take The Long Road Home

One of the questions most frequently asked by critics of the New Orleans recovery is "what happened to all that Federal money?" David Winkler-Schmit, in this week's Gambit Weekly, answers part of that question with a meticulously reported piece on the less-well-known half of Louisiana's Road Home program (the compensation for homeowners half is well known, and widely derided for slowness and bureaucracy).

The "Small Rental Property Program," supposedly designed to deal with the peculiarity of New Orleans rental housing -- most landlords own four units or fewer -- has instead become a Kafkaesque nightmare, teasing people with the illusion of almost enough assistance to begin rebuilding, while, in fact, giving them nothing: no payments occur until the owner has secured financing, rebuilt, and re-rented to a low-income tenant, with reams of paperwork to document every step.

Rest easy, there will be no fraud: so far, not one New Orleans landlord has received an SRPP check.