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The Power of Now
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
By:Letters to the Editor
The Road Home travails of Edward Randolph and Almarie Ford illustrate why government officials need to find additional ways to help homeowners wronged by the program.
The two eastern New Orleans homeowners were among the lead plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging discrimination in the Road Home's formula that paid applicants based on a home's pre-storm value, not the actual cost of rebuilding. A federal judge agreed, and a recent settlement will pay $62 million in rebuilding aid to 1,460 households in metro New Orleans and in Cameron Parish.
But Mr. Randolph and Ms. Ford, who are still struggling to rebuild, won't get a penny. They are among 5,000 homeowners who were underpaid by the Road Home but were back in their homes by May 1, mostly because they took out a new mortgage or exhausted their savings to rebuild.
With Road Home money running out, state officials and the plaintiffs agreed to use the settlement to help the neediest applicants. Attorney James Perry, whose Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center represented the plaintiffs, lauded the sacrifice of homeowners like Mr. Randolph and Ms. Ford.