Road Home Woes

May 30, 2007

Reported By: Natalie Grise

Marsha Avery and her five-year-old son Zion survived two disasters in the past two years, but their home didn't.

"I had just remodeled," Marsha recalls, "It was taken away, you know, damaged by Rita, and then this year, it burned totally down. I don't know how I'm keeping sanity."

Now, they're living in an apartment, leaving Zion with one complaint.

"He wants to jump on his trampoline again," Marsha says.

Months after his mother applied for Road Home assistance, Zion still doesn't have his trampoline, and an estimated three billion dollar shortfall in the program's funding makes his mom wonder if he will ever get it.

"It makes you nervous because you've been waiting, you've been patient, you've been submitting all documentation that's required, and you're playing the waiting game, and now they're saying there's no money. Well, if we haven't received the money, where's the money going?" she asks.

Road Home representatives blame the projected shortfall on an underestimation of the extent of damage, and the number of people needing assistance. Now, Louisiana lawmakers are trying to get to the bottom of the problem.

"I think Congress needs the answers to three questions," says Louisiana Representative Bobby Jindal, "What caused that shortfall, how much is it, and what's the state's plan going forward?"

"I called a hearing last week on the Road Home to figure out what the bumps are and how to eliminate them, to help get people back in their homes," says Louisiana Senator Mary Landreiu.

As the Road Home Program begins planning for its future, Marsha and Zion wait for the money to begin their own.