2+ Years Later, Louisiana Homeowners Still Waiting To Rebuild

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Two-and-a-half years after Hurricane Katrina, tens of thousands of miserable homeowners are still waiting for their government rebuilding checks, and many complain they can’t even get their calls returned. But the company that holds the big contract to distribute the aid is doing quite well for itself.

ICF International of Fairfax, Va., has posted strong profits, gone public, landed additional multimillion-dollar government contracts, and, it was learned this week, secured a potentially big raise recently from the state of Louisiana.

In the waning days of Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s administration, state officials increased the management contract ceiling from $756 million to $914 million — this, after the Legislature wanted to fire ICF over its handling of the homeowner recovery program, called Road Home.

“I’m flabbergasted that this company could be so inefficient and could mess up so consistently and for so long,” said Bill Yurt, 57, who has been living in a FEMA trailer for 2½ years.

He said ICF hasn’t sent an appraiser to determine the grant amount that will resurrect his gutted house in Gentilly. And his calls to an ICF caseworker have gone unreturned for a month.

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