Gambit Weekly : November 13, 2007: The Road Home's Small Rental Property Program isn't a traditional loan program at all; instead, it's an 'incentive" program. Worse yet, the rules apply in a Catch-22 fashion: Only after construction is completed " at the landlord's sole expense " and a rehabilitated property is thoroughly inspected (and a qualified low-income renter identified) can an applicant receive a forgivable loan. Until construction is finished and all paperwork and inspections are completed, landlord-applicants are on their own. Most difficult of all, they have to get their own financing to rebuild. While a forgivable SRPP loan sounds great, the banks that are financing reconstruction work expect timely repayment of every loan they make to SRPP applicants.

Somehow, that crucial bit of information didn't filter out to thousands of small-scale landlords like Mattie Mack.

A program designed to replace thousands of affordable rental units destroyed by Hurricane Katrina has not rebuilt a single one.

Louisiana Recovery Authority's Road Home 'Small Rental Property Program" (SRPP). The SRPP is a companion of sorts to the Road Home homeowners program, which has received tons of publicity. Both programs are administered by ICF International Inc.

SRPP started taking applications in January 2007.
Unfortunately, SRPP isn't helping them. In fact, since January, SRPP hasn't helped any landlords. As of last week, SRPP had not issued a single check for one of the forgivable loans, despite its $869 million budget and Louisiana's loss of 82,000 rental units as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

By David Winkler-Schmit for Gambit Weekly : Stuck on Stuck : November 13, 2007


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