I have today, after waiting almost six months for some response from The Road Home, received A “Gold Award Letter”. I was disappointed to see a flawed, incomplete and grossly inaccurate award letter.
Today we are returning our Attachment 3 - DELAYING BENEFIT SELECTION in order to contest the determination in our case. We made no election with regard to closing. We want to close as quickly as possible, if we can make substantial progress we are willing to close before all issues are resolved.
There are three serious flaws in the letter.
First. There is no calculation of the damage. Based on current cost estimates and other Road Home letters we are aware of we would expect this amount to around $120.00 per square foot. The letter made no mention of any damage figure.
Second. There is an improper deduction of $4,358 in FEMA Grants. We have received no FEMA grant for property damage. As we told them at our appointment on January 19 these grants, provided to almost everyone, were temporary housing and emergency expenses, not for Property Damage. We were assured that everyone at The Road Home was aware of that fact, if only because of the exact amount. In fact we provided our adviser no information on the the FEMA payment, only that we had received them. She filled in the amounts.
Third. “The Certified Appraisal” is grossly inaccurate. In July 2002 we refinanced our home and it then appraised at almost exactly what the Road Home "Certified Appraisal" came up with. We always felt the 2002 apprasial was low but it since it was adequate for the refinancing we didn't bother. We could not provide a copy of that appraisal for The Road Home since all of our records were lost. If that figure were escalated in accordance with Road Home guidelines it would yield a pre-Katrina Value more than $70,000 higher than the Road Home Value. In addition I recently learned that my next door neighbor had a 2005 appraisal valuing his similarly sized home at about that same amount as our escalated appraisal.
We believe we are entitled to a grant in the range of $50,000.00.
I have requested a copy of the “Certified Appraisal” and a damage evaluation, but I don't expect to ever get it.
The above is based on the letter I sent to The Road Home. There are several things about this I find disturbing.
First I think property values in my neighborhood are being seriously under estimated. I know of more than one case where this has happened. In at least one case it made no difference, so it wasn't challenged. The home values don't seem to relate to pre-Katrina sale prices at all. This is probably because we are being lumped in with other nearby neighborhoods with historically lower property values.
Secondly the title of Attachment 3 is an insult considering the errors and confusion surrounding The Road Home. DELAYING BENEFIT SELECTION? I am not delaying anything by assisting them in correcting their errors.
Oh yes the punchline;
We are entitled to exactly $0.00