New Orleans, LA – August 18, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced more than $32 million in funding for the rebuilding of four educational buildings at the Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO)—reflecting Secretary Napolitano’s strong commitment to recovery efforts in Louisiana following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
“Expediting the recovery process for local communities affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita continues to be a top priority for the Department,” said Secretary Napolitano. “These public assistance funds represent our commitment to helping residents of the Gulf Coast rebuild as quickly and effectively as possible.”
The $32 million will be used to replace SUNO’s Old Science, New Science, Multipurpose and Clark education buildings, which suffered irreparable damage in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In total, more than $92 million in FEMA public assistance has been obligated for SUNO—including $40 million since Secretary Napolitano last visited New Orleans and toured the campus in March. Previous funding has helped renovate the university’s cafeteria, gymnasium and maintenance buildings.
Secretary Napolitano made the announcement during a visit to SUNO, where she was joined by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate and Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding Janet Woodka to discuss Gulf Coast rebuilding efforts with federal, state and local partners.
“Today’s announcement is one more example of the great strides FEMA’s Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office (LATRO) has made in expediting assistance to New Orleans and Louisiana,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “Under the guidance of the President and Secretary Napolitano, LATRO director Tony Russell and his team have worked closely with the state on rebuilding and recovery projects such as SUNO, and we look forward to continuing and strengthening this important partnership.”
“This is an example of what can be done when federal agencies, the state, and local officials come together as partners,” said Woodka. “The Administration is committed to continuing to work with all those who have a stake in moving New Orleans and the Gulf Coast forward.”
Since Secretary Napolitano took office on Jan. 21, FEMA has obligated more than $895 million in public assistance funds for Louisiana recovery—including more than $404 million for education, $130 million for public works, $49 million for public safety and protection, $54 million for health care, $217 million for public infrastructure and $40 million for debris removal.
Two weeks ago, Secretary Napolitano announced a new arbitration process to resolve outstanding FEMA public assistance projects stemming from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
On March 5, she created the Joint Expediting Team and the Unified Public Assistance Project Decision Team to expedite recovery efforts, leading to the resolution of 29 public assistance project disputes and 44 disputed eligibility cases since Secretary Napolitano’s visit to New Orleans in March.
For more details on DHS and FEMA rebuilding efforts in Louisiana, visit http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/fema_louisiana_progress_report_august2009.pdf (PDF, 4 pages – 198 KB)