Up to $700million in taxpayer-funded Hurricane Katrina is missing after the government paid 24,000 families to upgrade their homes against a future storm and regulators failed to follow up and made sure they did the work.

As many as 19,000 homeowners across the Gulf Coast received up to $30,000 to elevate their houses and instead spent the money on something else, according to a damning report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general.

The state of Louisiana is only now, nearly eight years after the storm hit, beginning to follow up with families who received the checks from the Federal Road Home program. 

So the government has only been able to confirm that 5,000 of the 24,000 homeowners who got checks actually did the work on their houses.

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