News: Jan 1, 2011 - Dec 30, 2011 [Archive]
HMGP Contractor Suspension & Probation List - Homeowners Beware!The HMGP program has devised a mechanism of rating contractors based on their performance in the program. If a contractor fails meet a minimum level of criteria, they are 'Suspended' or put on 'Probation'.
Contractors currently 'Suspended' or on 'Probation' are:
Andrew Williams Interiors LLC of Gretna
Dilon Construction and Renovations LLC of Metairie
Bokas Building Designs Contractors of Baton Rouge
Franki Construction of Gretna
GOE of Houma
Johnson and Halfi Construction LLC of Gretna
Kittok Enterprises LLC of Harahan
MAC Construction of Metairie
Milligan Construction of Slidell
Ochew Contractors of New Orleans
Pearl Homes Construction Co Inc of Gretna
Phase I Services Inc. of Marrero
Polanco Construction of Kenner
Royal Crest Construction Inc of Metairie
Show Me Quality Construction LLC of New Orleans
Axcess Construction Management Services Inc of Mandeville
Baer Construction LLC of Destrehan
Brimmer Enterprises Inc of New Orleans
Celebrity Contractors Inc of New Orleans
Chandler House Moving of Bossier City
Dapremont Construction LLC of New Orleans
Dardar Construction of Mongtegut
DeVillier House Movers of Eunice
Donald Allen of Slidell
LAA Shoring LLC of Metairie
Laumann Construction Co. of Harahan
Melida Inc of Slidell
Norrisrader Construction LLC of Lafayette
Olde Orleans Construction Inc of Covington
RamJack FOUNDATION Solutions of Louisiana of Metairie
Richard Earls Construction of New Orleans
as of 8/25/11 http://www.mitigatela.org/Downloads.aspx
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Still in TroubleIn December of 2009, the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program changed many of its procedures to make the program more accessible to homeowners. One major change was the introduction of an Advance Payment Option (APO). The implementation of the APO successfully changed the HMGP Elevation Incentive from a reimbursement program—which excluded many homeowners unable to make upfront payments—to a true grant program. With this program change, many homeowners who were unable to elevate their homes due to financial issues were finally able to do so.
Or so they believed. Many homeowners are still waiting to be approved for elevation grants. Most are unsure of where they stand as far as qualifying and receiving elevation grants are concerned, due to numerous changes (many last minute or unannounced) within the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Initially, the HMGP announced a final deadline of March 10, 2010 to express interest in elevation incentives. They also announced, however, that any post-deadline forms received that expressed interest in the program would still be considered, but on a first-come, first-served basis. In recent news, all participants who expressed interest in receiving an elevation incentive after the March 10th deadline are now placed in a hold and must express interest AGAIN in order to be considered.
This leaves many homeowners frustrated as they’ve filled out form after form—many of those forms sent before the deadline—that have been lost. Now, homeowners must submit a letter explaining that they are interested in receiving an elevation incentive—yet another hurdle for homeowners to jump over in their race against other homeowners for elevation grants.
Many homeowners are concerned that they will not make the cut to receive the grants they have been waiting years for; however, 750 million dollars has been allocated to the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for disbursement on elevation projects, individual mitigation measures, and other reconstruction projects. In over five years, only 115 million dollars has been disbursed to homeowners. This could be good news to homeowners waiting to receive their elevation funds, but with the constant changes and red tape, there is no way of gauging how long homeowners may have to wait before they see the funding.
Despite the “hurry up and wait” policies of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program’s procedures, the best thing a homeowner can do is to be prepared for when their funding finally does come through. Homeowners who have received an estimate from a home elevation contractor—and especially those who have selected a contractor—are more likely to get pushed through the process and are, at the very least, ready to begin their elevation project the moment their funding becomes available. Funds are not dispersed to homeowners who have not selected a contractor.
To ensure they do not miss out on any grants, homeowners should regularly call and confirm their status with the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and turn in all paperwork as soon as possible. If they have not received an estimate from an HMG- preferred contractor, they should do so immediately and submit their contract to their mitigation analyst. Homeowners should retain copies of all correspondence with the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program in order to ensure they do not find themselves dropped to the bottom of the waiting list due to lost or misplaced paperwork. Homeowners working with an HMGP-preferred home elevation contractor will be at a distinct advantage, as their contractor will be well-informed on all current policies and procedures regarding current grant programs.
Call and get an estimate today so you can stay ahead of the many homeowners applying for elevation grants!
Troubled hazard mitigation grant program is topic of Tuesday meeting in New Orleansby Martha Carr, The Times-Picayune
Monday, January 24, 2011
A state legislative committee will hold a public meeting in New Orleans Tuesday to hear from contractors and officials in Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration about the troubled Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
The meeting of the Select Committee on Hurricane Recovery will be begin at 5 p.m. in City Council chambers, 1300 Perdido St.
The committee, chaired by state Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans, will also be briefed on the Small Rental Property Program and the closeout of the Road Home program, according to the meeting agenda.
The committee last met in New Orleans on Dec. 15, when members expressed continued frustration at the pace that HMGP grants are being doled out.
The program is supposed to distribute $750 million to tens of thousands of Road Home applicants for projects such as elevating homes, installing shutters and repairing flood damage.
But as of Dec. 10, the program had paid out just $115 million to 3,800 households. Another $7.5 million was expected to be disbursed by Christmas, officials told the committee.
Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater, who said he had become more personally involved in trying to straighten out the mitigation program since Robin Keegan resigned in November as director of the state Office of Community Development and its Disaster Recovery Unit, said he was pushing to streamline the program and to get money paid out faster.
But members of the committee, who have held several hearings on the program in the past few months, told him they were far from satisfied.
Home Elevation Changes Face of New OrleansBy Louisiana Home Elevations
In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, New Orleans has embarked on a long path of revival. With the help of the Road Home Grants, many homeowners have been able to return their homes to a livable condition, but in addition to these repairs, homeowners want to put in place measures to protect their homes from future damage. Repairs have been ongoing since 2005, but thanks to funding such as the Road Home Elevation Grant and the Hazard Mitigation Grant restoration of New Orleans has taken a new design. One method determined to protect homes from future flood damage in New Orleans and many other cities affected is home elevation.
Many New Orleans homeowners have opted to save their homes from future flood damage by participating in available grant programs created to pay for home elevation. Initially, New Orleans homeowners were slow to accept home elevation as a feasible option not only due to concerns about potential structural risks, but due to concerns about aesthetics as well. Home elevation was a concept new to residents of New Orleans. It was mostly only seen in coastal cities immediately on the beach or in camps. To elevate a home, a place of residence, was a fairly new concept to residents of New Orleans.
Without knowledge of home elevation, homeowners had many fears of what may happen to their newly renovated homes. Fears of structural damage were quickly put aside as homeowners became more knowledgeable about the safety of the elevation process. Now secure that the process is entirely safe, even for homes on concrete slab, aesthetic concerns were the next issue to address. Many homeowners are concerned about how elevation will change the aesthetics, or appearance, of their home. Early elevations in New Orleans showed more concern for mitigation and less concern for design with overly high homes determined to “never flood again.” Over time it has become known that simply elevating above the advisory base flood elevation (ABFE) is more than enough to protect from future flood damage though many homeowners were utilizing a “homegrown” method of figuring out their necessary elevation by looking at the water lines left in their home.
Though this is a great method for approximation, it is still necessary to check local flood maps. Flood maps have been updated since Katrina and Rita to reflect the changes in ABFE and therefore should match or be above the water lines left in homes.
Though sure of the safety of elevating a home above the necessary ABFE, there is still the issue of how the home will look after elevation. For many coastal communities, elevated homes are not new or unusual. Homes are built to existing flood plain advisories in their area, but in New Orleans there is the unique problem of tying in an elevation with the existing design of the home. Though many coastal homes were able to lend inspiration to home elevation design, they were not able to fully solve the problem. Experienced and knowledgeable home elevation companies have been able to find creative solutions to this problem, and even helping to make some structures look better than before the elevation. An experienced home elevation contractor can envision a home elevation design that could help tie together the existing architecture of a home with the new architecture and height of the home elevation.
Each home is unique and each homeowner has individual preferences. Many homeowners opt to celebrate the new height of their homes by using the space beneath their homes for parking or storage. With less extreme or lower elevations, homeowners can opt to disguise the new height of their home by enclosing the space with latticework or bricking. Determining what is right or possible for a home is something that must be determined with the help of an experienced elevation contractor. The state has selected several reputable contractors to choose from. Contact one today in order to discuss your home elevation design options.
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program frustrating, homeowners and contractors sayby David Hammer, The Times-Picayune
As Road Home recipients rush to meet today's deadline to apply for separate reconstruction, elevation and stormproofing grants, confusion over the state's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program is intensifying.
Applicants, their advocates and the contractors who hope to get paid with the mitigation money are having trouble understanding ever-changing rules, getting clear answers to their questions and even confirming whether the state has properly recorded who wants a share of the $750 million in grants.
For example, Tanya Scott of New Orleans filled out all her paperwork to apply for up to $7,500 in money for stormproofing measures, but when she called her state mitigation analyst last Friday, she was told the program is "on hold."
Christina Stephens, spokeswoman for the Louisiana Recovery Authority, says nothing is on hold and Scott shouldn't have been told that.
Dozens of other homeowners have complained in recent days that when they call the program hotline at 877.824.8312, they are told their files are "under review" and can't get any written confirmation that they have applied. Stephens said that even if a person's file is "under review," they can still get in line for the grant simply by expressing their interest over the phone.
Tim Clark, the owner of a local elevation contractor, is at his wits' end because it's been more than six months since he completed some house-raising jobs that qualified for grants and he's never been paid. He fronted the cost of the jobs on the promise of collecting the grant money.
Read more »
Elevated houses making a mark on post-Katrina New Orleans landscapeby Renee Peck
Three years after Hurricane Katrina, houses are still going up across the metropolitan area. And "up" doesn't mean new: It means, well, up.
The sight of homes being raised 3 or 4 or even 10 or 12 feet above ground has become common. But what will this do to the local architectural landscape? What is the impact on neighborhoods? Individual blocks? And how high is too high?
Such is the conversation that has been going on for the past year between Shirley Laska, director of the Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology (CHART) at the University of New Orleans, and her team of graduate students. They have examined, photographed, analyzed and studied raised houses throughout the city; their work can be seen online, where an interactive map showcases specific examples of successful elevation in more than a dozen neighborhoods.
"The idea was simply to create a conversation about elevation, " Laska said of the map. "At its simplest, that means should we elevate or not? More complex is the question of how."
Early on, Laska says, the group realized that elevation conversation can be complex. The earliest house-raisings post-Katrina often looked like structures on steroids. Laska refers to them as "flood rage houses" -- residences hoisted by people who said, succinctly, "Never again."
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