Because Mark and Romy Samuels had jobs and insurance on their Gentilly home that was totaled by Hurricane Katrina’s flooding, they got nothing from the Road Home.
They made too much money to get a low-income grant. Insurance covered the equity they had in the house, but not the larger costs estimated by the Road Home itself of rebuilding it. After fighting the program’s appraisals and watching as friends in areas that didn’t even flood got big grants, the parents of three small children had no choice but to sell their house.
“The whole program was not well thought-out,” Romy Samuels said. “We thought we did everything right. We had insurance. And then you kick yourself, like maybe we shouldn’t have had insurance. That program was there to help us get started, but it was more of a headache. I’m a fighter, but I was reduced to tears.”
There are nearly 25,000 families like the Samuelses who got grants to rebuild their storm-damaged properties based on the property value, rather than the estimated cost of repairing the damage. The Road Home dictated that grants would be based on the smaller of those two amounts.