Apr 2, 2013 11:32 PM by Steven Albritton
Some startling numbers were found after an audit of the Road Home program. The program started in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina to help victims of the storm get back into their homes. In one aspect of Road Home, storm victims were given money to specifically elevate their homes to protect from future flooding.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, out of $1 billion dollars given out $700 million of it has been improperly used.
After Hurricane Rita devastated southwest Louisiana, the Trahan's applied for a Road Home grant to protect their home from future disasters. Unfortunatley, they were turned away.
"It puts you in a financial situation that is going to take you a long time to recover from, if we ever do, because you don't get that back," David Trahan of Abbeville said.
They initially used their own money to rebuild and elevate. Recently, the audit of the road home program found 70% of those who did receive the $30,000 grant, did not use it for its intended purpose.
"In this particular case, we have $700 million dollars that we can't account for and that certainly did not go to elevating homes and preventing future damage from storms. This is taxpayers money, and that is right with the numbers, about 24,000 homes that either for sure we know did not elevate their homes or they are not able to prove or show that they in fact elevated their homes," Housing and Urban Development Inspector General David Montoya said.
Not only was system money used for other things but now those residents have left their homes open to future damage, and families like the Trahan's empty handed.
"I won't be in line the next go around. I won't waste my time or my emotions. It's not worth it. It's not worth the stress," Cheryl Trahan said.
As for the $700 million in misused taxpayer money, Inspector General Montoya says it's unlikely Louisiana will be able to get that money back from residents, but the state will most likely have to repay the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.