Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson said today that 16 universities will receive over $5 million through an innovative program using the expertise of these centers for higher learning to help rebuild communities throughout the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast.

The funding is provided through HUD’s new Universities Rebuilding America Partnership, known as URAP, HUD said.

Jackson announced the funding in New Orleans while touring Xavier University and said the funding is designed to tap into “young, bright minds” to help devastated Gulf Coast communities to rebuild.

“I want to inspire and empower students and faculty to get involved in one of the most important rebuilding efforts in our country’s history,” said Jackson in a statement.

HUD’s URAP initiative was created through an existing design program that benefited schools of architecture and planning, and a grant program that assists Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the agency said.

Nine URAP grants are being awarded to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and seven grants will assist other schools for community design and planning, HUD said. Working with local, state, and national organizations URAP will provide an opportunity for groups of college and university students, faculty, and staff to develop creative solutions to respond to the disaster, according to HUD.

In addition to the grant funding, HUD will also provide a URAP Toolkit, a step-by-step guide on how to select and arrange service projects in the Gulf Region, and what to expect. And, in conjunction with the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, URAP has established the Universities Rebuilding America Honor Roll and Awards Program to recognize higher education institutions for their contributions to the recovery and rebuilding efforts, HUD said.


Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to janis@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

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