Thursday, January 18, 2007

Road Home Again

I just returned from my interview with the Road Home people. I imagine most people have already been through that, but I though our experience might be interesting.

Our Appointment was 9:00 AM at 1555 Poydras in the CBD.

The First Thing I noticed was the security. You have to check in at a card table in the lobby and be escorted by an ICF employee to a Waiting Room. Before you can enter the Waiting Room your name is checked off the list by a Uniformed NOPD Officer.

The first step is a photo and thumb print. You would think they have the money there.

The Second Thing I noticed was the customer service protocol. I think they had Disney training. The first thing the Interviewer did was usually introduce themselves and shake the hand of the applicant. This happened too frequently and too consistently for it to be individual behavior, it was certainly coached.

After the mug shot and prints I guess you could say we had been "booked". We waited in the holding area for about 15 minutes. Our Adviser showed up introduced herself, offered her hand and escorted us to another floor where another New Orleans Police offices sat watch, reading a newspaper. You'd think ICF could hire private security or get State Police from Kathy and release the NOPD for more pressing duties.

The interview took about an hour and consisted mostly of repeating information which was on our application and providing copies of supporting documents. The one new thing for me at least is the mitigation grants. There is a list of mitigation measures with dollar values for each. There was no printed information we could take with us. This is different from the Elevation Grants. Apparently if you perform certain mitigation measures you can get an additional $7,500. The things covered include;
  • Tying down or anchoring propane tanks and heating fuel tanks
  • Elevating washers, dryers, furnaces, water heaters, electrical panels and air conditioning units
  • Installing storm shutters or other window protection
  • Installing hurricane straps in the attic and bolting walls to the foundation
  • Installing backflow valves
There is a schedule of values associated with each of the items, depending on the size of the house. I couldn't get a copy of and I can't find it on line anywhere. If anyone has it please let me know. I'd like to publish it. Since this Grant is a reimbursement, paid after the work is done I bet that proper documentation might be important to maximize the reimbursement.

After our interview was complete we were given a CD with all of the documents on it including our mug shots and thumb prints as well as scanned copies of our supporting documents. We were escorted to the elevator, and our hands shook again.

The whole process took about an hour and a half. It was a pleasant though dull experience.

Next up someone will go to our house to verify it is still there, it did flood and measure it. That is supposed to take 7-10 days. We are supposed to get our option letter in 8-10 weeks after that. That will be sometime around April first.

I guess that's when we get to fight about the numbers with them.


adrastos said...

The NOPD officers are probably moonlighting. Detail city, dude.

mominem said...

You're probably right.

I don't mind police working details, actively providing security.

I also think seeing them in uniform doing little sends a wrong message.

Tim said...

Thanks for the rundown of what happens. We're going for our interview this week.



mominem said...

Tim I though you would have already been through it. I though we were about the last people in the city to go for our interview.