Action Jackson: Homeowner whose home flooded in 2016, claims restore cut him off before he finished repairs

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 1:39 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Barry Innerarity’s home in Denham Springs home flooded in 2016. He was approved for financial aid through Restore Louisiana and opted to do his own home repairs instead of accepting a contractor from the program. This means he is responsible to complete repairs before receiving money from restore.

“In order to get this done, we’ve had to put money out of our pockets. I had to use up my money that I had for my retirement; that’s gone,” said Innerarity.

RELATED: OUR TURN: Remembering Historic 2016 Flood

Innerarity says his kitchen, the laundry room and a few windows that still needs repairs; however, he says he received an unexpected response after recently reaching out to the agency.

“We contacted restore about 2 weeks ago to do another inspection, and that’s when I was told that they can’t that they close our accounts back in October of last year. We were not aware of it,” said Innerarity.

Innerarity says his case manager told him the agency sent an email in October 2020, informing him he had 30 days to provide an update on home repairs before closing his file. He claims he never received any form of communication from them.

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“We’re in the last phase of getting things accomplished and so it’s just going to take a lot longer now because it has to come out of our pockets and put it down to one income.”

“WAFB reporter Action Jackson talked with a restore Louisiana spokesperson who claims they did reach out to Innerarity via, email, letters and phone calls. After no response, the agency closed his file. The spokesperson further stated their policy for claimants who choose to do their own repairs are generally required to have all work completed within 400-days. However, there are exceptions when that time frame is extended, which the agency rep says they did for Mr. Innerarity.

“We’re at the age now to where it is harder to get things done quick enough; so, you know, we’re just down to the last bit,” said Innerarity.

The Restore Representative also says they will not re-open Innerarity’s claim. They are working to finalize thousands of open cases and are encouraging customers who have been in the program for more than a year to work quickly and make sure they are regularly communicating with the agency.

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