Faced with the unprecedented recovery effort caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the State of Louisiana’s Recovery Authority (LRA) and Office of Community Development (OCD) turned to STR to provide a software platform to support disbursement of rebuilding grants to its homeowners affected by the devastating storms. This groundbreaking Road Home compensation program, with some $10+ billion in Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant funding, represents the largest single housing recovery program in U.S. history. Originally installed in 2006, eGrants provides the processing backbone for managing some 150,000 residential grant applications through the intake, eligibility review and verification, grant award calculation and approval, and closing processes.
STR was able to rapidly configure and customize its baseline grant application module to support a pilot program launched within the first month following project initiation. Despite subsequent policy and programmatic shifts and significant changes to homeowner application and third-party data verification needs, this pilot implementation was easily adapted to provide full grant administration lifecycle support. Providing online application submission and status review capabilities, eGrants was customized with a rules-based Homeowner Grant Calculator engine to provide compensation options for which applicants were eligible based on key variables, including home value, damage assessments and previously received insurance and Federal benefits. State internal audit approval and quality control procedures were incorporated along with critical interfaces to support financial transparency, budget and third party closing/check disbursement.
STR continues today to provide operational support, specialized reporting and analysis to the State for the core Road Home program as well as delivering further system enhancements to support the Additional Compensation Grant (ACG). The ACG, with benefit eligibility based on applicant household income levels, is intended to assist with any gap between the Road Home estimated cost of damage and the amounts the homeowner receives from the original Road Home compensation grant and other assistance such as insurance or FEMA. In addition, STR is engaged directly with the Louisiana Land Trust to provide software capabilities to support the management of properties acquired by the State of Louisiana from original homeowners exercising a Road Home sale option.