BATON ROUGE, La. -- Some Louisiana families are now reliving the pain they experienced in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
The state is now telling an undisclosed number of Road Home recipients that they must repay all or some the grant money they received to help rebuild after the storm.
The Louisiana Office of Community Development maintains the money was not spent properly.
New Orleans District B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell said many of the demand letters are based on bad information.
“When they would get these letters, it was not specific. It was even referencing monies that people had not only spent on their home, but they had also supplied documentation previously,” Cantrell said.
Cantrell worked with state Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, on a Road Home bill of rights.
A law passed during the recent session of the Louisiana Legislature sets up a series of guidelines for the recovery of Road Home money. Among them is that the state must specify the exact information needed to verify how residents used the money. It also calls for a 90-day time limit to resolve the claim.
“Because we don't want people thinking that they provided everything requested and this dragging out for years,” Morrell said.
Letters went out to Road Home recipients explaining the new law.
“The level of case management is inadequate to help the residents who are truly in need to get through this process,” Cantrell said. ”That's what we're advocating for.”
Morrell said, “Really, the resources of the state should be levied to pursue the people who did everything wrong. Not send letters to people, demanding they repay money, say they haven't rebuilt.”
The New Orleans City Council Community Development Committee is holding a special meeting to discuss the Road Home bill of rights. It will be held in the council chambers at City Hall on July 16 at 2 p.m.