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Chinese Drywall Victims May Get Financial Help from Feds

Dec 14, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

Chinese drywall victims could be eligible to receive some federal financial aid.  According to a report in The Palm Beach Post, the U .S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will soon issue guidelines for Chinese drywall homeowners to apply for federal funds.

The federal money could come from the Community Development Block Grant program, which is aimed at helping communities avoid blight, the Post said.  HUD had previously suggested that Chinese drywall homeowners could be eligible for such funding, but so far, people who have applied for the money have had mixed results.

That could change soon though, according to a letter sent by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan to Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), which promised that guidance would soon be available to homeowners seeking such funding.

"The guidance will provide details about the eligible activities relating to drywall remediation, and the ways in which (block grant) funds can be used to benefit families with various income levels,"   Donavan wrote.

So far, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has received 2,276 reports from residents in 32 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico concerning Chinese drywall. 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 potentially hazardous homes.

Tests released last month by the CPSC of 51 homes confirmed that the presence of hydrogen sulfide is the essential component that causes copper and silver sulfide corrosion found in Chinese drywall homes. The CPSC is still trying to determine if the Chinese drywall poses any long-term health risks or other hazards.

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