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Blue Roof Program ramping up to install hundreds per day

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 6:35 PM CDT
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Crews who are part of the federal Blue Roof Program install tarp on a roof damaged by Hurricane...
Crews who are part of the federal Blue Roof Program install tarp on a roof damaged by Hurricane Ida in New Orleans, La.(Source: WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is ramping up efforts in hopes of getting hundreds of damaged roofs covered with tarps per day as the Hurricane Ida recovery continues in southeast Louisiana.

But some homeowners say they cannot wait on the federal program to protect their homes, so they are hiring private companies to do the work.

In Metairie, Sandra Mendoza talked about her roof damage.

“It was raining in my house,” said Mendoza.

She is hiring a crew to place a tarp over her roof. “Yes, we’re tarping with all the rain coming,” she said.

Mendoza is also planning to get a new roof for her home and the garage.

She was asked if she tried to get help through the Blue Roof Program that the Corps is operating to assist storm victims.

“Could not get it,” said Mendoza. “This is a private roofer, is going to do it for me.”

Miles away from Mendoza’s home a crew working for the Corps of Engineers began placing a blue tarp over a damaged roof.

Lt. Colonel Thomas Jason Sears is Commander of the Corps of Engineers Emergency Field Office for the New Orleans District.

“The program is free to anybody that qualifies which basically depends upon the damage of your house and you have to call either, sign up in person at one of our local areas or dial 1-888-ROOFBLUE or go online at blueroof.us and sign up, and then that will get you started in the process,” said Sears. “Right now, we’re at 56,000 and counting.”

The number of completed jobs so far is approaching a thousand.

“We’re right just over 800 today, so we’re ramping up to have based on the weather to have 400 a day and trying to even surpass that,” said Sears.

He was asked whether there was a lull in the operation early on.

“Whenever there’s a hurricane there’s a lull. We have to have power restored, we can’t bring in the responders until it’s safe to come in which, which it’s difficult but then once we got our contracts in place and contractors going, contactors have been great and they’ve been, they’re the heroes of this operation.” Sears stated.

Mendoza says she could not afford to wait for the Blue Roof Program to protect her home from rain that was getting inside.

“No, I mean look at all the rain we’re having, no, the rain keeps pouring in and more damage,” she said.

The program began two weeks ago, and Sears says it will take time to get all the roofs covered with tarp.

“I will tell you our goal is between 60 to 90 days to get them all done and that is weather dependent,” he said.

And he says if homeowners decide to get a tarp through a private company or have their roof repaired quickly through insurance, they should notify the Blue Roof Program so their names can be removed from the list. He says not doing so creates problems and hampers the process.

“If their insurance adjuster were to come to their house and say I can get a new roof on for you, you don’t have to wait for the Blue Roof Program absolutely do that but please call the Blue Roof Program so we can get you off the list because that is a problem. We have people show up to put the blue roofs on and the new roofs are already put on, so it slows down the process,” said Sears.

And a message on the Corps of Engineers’ website says, “Our Blue Roof Call Center is experiencing delays as a result of the large number of impacted residences eligible for the program. We apologize for any inconvenience and frustration caused by these challenges. If your call goes directly to voicemail, please hang up and retry calling the Blue Roof Program at (888) 766-3258. Assisting you in enrolling in the Blue Roof program is our top priority.”

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