LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -There was a time when, after Hurricane Rita, it seemed like everybody was talking about the Road Home program and trying to get money to repair or rebuild. And while it might seem as though such issues have long been resolved, they're not. Amazingly there are at least a dozen or so owners of rental property in Lake Charles still waiting for the program to pay.
It would seem like five years is enough time to fix a house damaged in Hurricane Rita. Some of the neighbors near 421 Tenth Street think so, as do city inspectors who say the deteriorating structure is a hazard as city council member John Ieyoub explains. "They told me it was a very dangerous situation. They were concerned that the next wind would blow one of the walls down and possibly hurt somebody."
Ieyoub also sympathizes with the owner, Jackie Halliburton, who has been in the process of getting Road Home money to repair the house for four years now. "We're trying to figure out what the holdup is because I have been approved four times by the Road Home. We're hoping there actually is federal money to rebuild these homes and that's what we've been promised. So, all you can do is comply with the program and hope for the best."
Her contractor, Sandra Chisholm, says it can be repaired even though it has deteriorated during the waiting process. "We still think that it can be salvaged, just not as much as it was before. It's going to cost her a lot more money to repair it than it was eight months ago."
Ieyoub says he's verified that Halliburton is approved for Road Home money, but neither he or the Lake Charles City Council or Halliburton can get any definite answer on when the money will be here. Says Ieyoub, "Somebody needs to do something. Either the city has to tear it down or Road Home needs to step up and provide the funds that they have promised Ms. Halliburton."
So for Jackie, it's a race against time hoping to get money to make repairs to the before the city or the wind demolishes the little brown house.
We tried to contact the Road Home program but have not yet heard back. Ieyoub estimates there are a dozen or so dangerous Lake Charles properties in limbo due to owners waiting for Road Home money.