U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today announced that the agency will supply $11.5 billion in disaster funding among five Gulf Coast states impacted by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Program will allocate the money to assist Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama and Texas in long-term recovery efforts.

Under the plan, Alabama will receive $74.4 million, Florida will receive $82.9 million, Louisiana will receive $6.2 billion, Mississippi will receive $5.1 billion, and Texas will receive $74.5 million.

“Today, we take another major step toward fulfilling the President’s pledge to rebuild the Gulf region,” Jackson said. “This is an investment in long-term recovery and rebuilding lives. It’s my hope that families who once had a home can return home.”

Donald Powell, federal coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding, said, “We are pleased that Congress has appropriated these monies for the purpose of long-term recovery and rebuilding of the Gulf Coast. This program allows states leaders – who are closest to the people – to decide exactly how this grant money should be spent. Housing is an extremely important priority for long-term rebuilding of the region and will help ensure the economic vitality of the Gulf. In particular, we hope these funds are used to help meet the tremendous housing needs of people and families along the Gulf Coast. “

On Dec. 30, 2005, President Bush signed legislation providing $11.5 billion in disaster relief to the five Gulf Coast states. By law, no one state could receive more than 54 percent, or $6.2 billion, of the total appropriation, HUD announced.

The grant money “was allocated based on Congress’ intent that areas of highest need and with greatest concentration of destruction receive priority consideration. In addition, HUD placed special emphasis on areas of particular unmet housing needs,” according to the announcement.

HUD has plans to publish a notice providing guidance to these states and to assist with long-term recovery planning, particularly as they relate to housing needs. Jackson said, “This money has got to get to the people and places that desperately need it.”

Community Development Block Grant money is distributed by formula around the country based on a community’s population, poverty, the age of its housing stock, and extent of overcrowded housing.

HUD analyzed data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Small Business Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Geological Service data in calculating grant money allocations for each of the five states, according to the announcement today.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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