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HUD No. 23-039
HUD Public Affairs
(202) 708-0685
February 17, 2023

In Case You Missed It: HUD and State of Louisiana Reach Agreement to Free 3,300 Louisianans from Road Home Repayment Obligations

Funding to make low-income families’ homes safer and healthier and create job opportunities for health housing practitioners

WASHINGTON - On Thursday, February 16, Marcia L. Fudge, the 18th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana to announce the closure of the Road Home program, which will free 3,300 Louisianans from repayment obligations. With the State’s compliance with HUD’s corrective action, the State will release unpaid judgments and payment plans against homeowners in April.

While in New Orleans, HUD Secretary Fudge met with the Saunders family, long-time residents of New Orleans who have lived in their house for 30 years. For more than a decade the Saunders family had great concern for their future because they held a Road Home debt of $30,000. Like some homeowners, the costs to elevate their home exceeded the funds they received and the family used the funds for post Katrina housing repairs and other expenses. Following that action, the state came to collect the $30,000 asserting it was not used appropriately. That was money the Saunders did not have, and they currently owe the full balance. With this agreement, the full balance of $30,000 owed will be cleared by the State and the family will no longer owe that debt. The Saunders now look forward to sending their nephew to college in the Fall.

If you missed the announcement, see the highlights from the news clips and social media posts below:

News Clips

ProPublica: Louisiana to Drop Lawsuits Against Katrina Survivors Over Recovery Grants (also featured in WWL-TV)
David Hammer and Richard Webster

The state of Louisiana is dropping thousands of lawsuits against homeowners who received grants to elevate their homes after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 but used the money to make repairs instead.

Many of those homeowners said they had been told by representatives of Road Home, the grant program, that they could use the money for repairs, according to an investigation by The Times-Picayune | The Advocate, WWL-TV and ProPublica ...

Homeowners sued by the state were living a “nightmare,” HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge said, worried they wouldn’t be able to pass their homes on to their children.

“I decided on my watch it was going to be over,” Fudge said. “The federal government is doing something that it has never done before for the people of Louisiana.”

WGNO-TV: More than 3,000 Louisiana homeowners to see relief from unpaid Road Home debt
Zach Labbe

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - Nearly eighteen years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the state, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge announced the end of the Road Home Program, releasing 3,300 homeowners from unpaid judgments and payment plans against them in April 2023.

The Road Home Program intended to help homeowners rebuild after hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed or damaged their homes. Since the program began, it has provided more than $9.6 billion to more than 118,000 Louisiana families.

Louisiana Illuminator: Road Home reaches its end, thousands of lawsuits against recipients pulled
Greg LaRose

NEW ORLEANS - The landmark and lambasted government program that attempted to make homeowners whole after Hurricane Katrina has come to an end, federal, state and local officials announced Thursday. The decision cancels thousands of lawsuits against Road Home recipients who used the money to fix their storm damages rather than the intended home elevations.

U.S. Housing Secretary Marcia Fudge joined Gov. John Bel Edwards, Congressman Troy Carter and Mayor LaToya Cantrell in the Lower 9th Ward to announce the program’s termination. The neighborhood was among the hardest hit in the 2005 hurricane season, which also saw Hurricane Rita pummel southwest Louisiana.

Louisiana Radio Network: After 17 years, the Road Home program ends. Related elevation grant lawsuits are DROPPED
Kevin Gallagher

The 17-year-old Road Home hurricane recovery program has come to an official end, and with it the state says it will drop lawsuits against thousands of people accused of misspending grants for elevating their homes after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Many used the grant money to make repairs instead, then were faced with government legal action; attempting to claw that money back. At a press conference Thursday in New Orleans, District 2 Congressman Troy Carter says the suits threatened the American dream for many homeowners...:

"The one threat that, curiously and sadly, threatened that dream was the very thing that was created to save and protect that dream."

Radio 97.3: Louisiana Ends Road Home Program after 17 Years
Mike Phillips

Over the course of the next several years following 2005 several thousand lawsuits were filed against Louisiana homeowners who "misspent" Road Home money. Now those remaining Road Home lawsuits have been dropped as the state officially sunsets the Road Home Recovery Program.

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