Many Factors Delay Disbursement Of Gulf Recovery Funds
"Of the 104,000 people who have applied for help from a state-run housing subsidy program called The Road Home, fewer than 500 have received grants."
"The Road Home experience is indicative of what's happened with much of the $110 billion that President Bush often talks about. Less than half of that money has been spent. Some of it has been set aside for long-term construction projects, which always take time. Other funds appear to be stuck in a morass of rules and red tape. The federal government has provided $7.5 billion for The Road Home program, but officials say getting the money to homeowners is the state's responsibility."
"But some critics say the state has imposed its own excessive requirements, noting that a similar program in Mississippi has gone more smoothly. Some in Louisiana are pointing fingers at ICF International, the contractor that was hired to administer the program."
"'We would love to be further along, but there are a number of factors that are outside of our control,' says Carol Hector-Harris, the ICF spokeswoman."
"She says thousands of applicants have yet to come in for their first interview. Thousands more have been approved for grants but have yet to tell the company whether they plan to rebuild or move. That decision affects the size of their check. Additionally, verification is time-consuming."