Chinese Drywall Aid Set Aside in LouisianaNov 13, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Some Chinese drywall victims in Louisiana could eventually get a bit of financial help from the state. According to the Associated Press, the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) yesterday voted unanimously to back a $5 million plan to help Road Home program recipients who have tainted Chinese drywall. The aid package still must be approved by the Louisiana legislature and federal authorities before it can begin.
The LRA was established in 2005 following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and provided funds through the Road Home program to residents for rebuilding. Much of the rebuilding done with Road Home funding involved the use of Chinese drywall.
Earlier this summer, the Louisiana legislature had mandated that the LRA create a $5 million initiative to help drywall victims. In October, the LRA approved Action Plan Amendment No. 37, which created the initiative. Yesterday's decision sets the funding for the program aside. Only people who received aid through the Road Home program will be eligible for the funds.
According to a report on WWLTV.com, funds for the program won't be dispersed until the federal government devises protocols for how to properly test and fix homes with Chinese drywall. It's doubtful that will happen this year.
While Louisiana is the only state so far to set aside funds for Chinese drywall victims, WWLTV.com said that state officials acknowledge that the $5 million won't go very far. They are hoping that the federal government will implement a large scale program to help Chinese drywall homeowners throughout the country.
The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has received about 1,897 reports from residents in 30 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico concerning Chinese drywall. Gases emitted from Chinese drywall are being blamed for significant property damage, including damage to HVAC systems, smoke detectors, electrical wiring, metal plumbing components, and other household appliances. These gases also produce a sulfurous odor that permeates homes, and cause metals, including air conditioning coils and even jewelry, to corrode.
People living with Chinese drywall have also suffered eye, respiratory and sinus problems that may be linked to the gases. The drywall problems have forced many people out of their homes, and some families are dealing with the heavy financial burden of paying both rent and mortgage payments. Those unable to afford additional rent have no choice but to stay in their smelly – and possibly hazardous – homes.