After Hurricane Katrina moved through the Gulf Coast and central Mississippi regions in 2005, leaving towns and homes obliterated in its wake, the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) was tasked with administering more than $5 billion in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to assist with the State’s disaster recovery. STR was selected by MDA to provide its eGrants application software to support the State’s Homeowner Assistance Program specifically targeted at residential home rebuilding initiatives. Relying on eGrants as its system of record, MDA to date has approved more than $2.1 billion in direct assistance to more than 27,000 homeowners whose houses were either damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge.
With an overarching program objective of jumpstarting the rebuilding effort as quickly as possible, STR’s baseline grants module was customized to support a consumer-oriented program administration framework and deployed and accepting homeowner applications within three weeks after program requirements were finalized. Over 13,000 applications were accepted via eGrants within the first month of operations. A common data warehouse was developed with interfaces to eGrants to facilitate timely exchange of home ownership verification, insurance claim reimbursement and grant settlement and disposition data, key criteria in determining each homeowner’s grant fund eligibility.