Posted by: Tony Russell, Regional Administrator, FEMA Region VI
Nearly all of the 92,000 Louisiana families living in travel trailers, mobile homes and park models following hurricanes Katrina and Rita have transitioned into longer term housing. This is a real, tangible sign of progress in the ongoing recovery of Louisiana. However, it is clear that the less than 500 remaining families are in need of additional resources before they can move on.
That is why I participated in the Team Approach Conference at the Louisiana Recovery Office (LRO) in New Orleans this week. It was the latest effort, hosted by FEMA in partnership with the State of Louisiana, to discuss and help establish permanent or longer-term housing plans for these remaining families.
In addition to FEMA Region 6 and LRO personnel, the group included representatives of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Louisiana's Office of Community Development, state volunteer organizations and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This round-table discussion focused on identifying and matching unmet needs with available local, state or federal resources to assist the temporary housing unit residents achieve more permanent housing. Everyone in the room had something to offer, whether it was background on what a family may need, knowledge of resources available through an agency, or advice and guidance - all critical components that will help families make a better life for themselves.
We are working with these remaining families every day to ensure we are doing everything within our power to help them down the road to recovery, and this round-table discussion was another important step in that process.
One thing that we have learned in disaster recovery is that positive outcomes derive only through coordinated and collaborative efforts. All of us - whether from the federal government, the State of Louisiana, a non-profit organization or a local organization - will continue to work together to ensure that the remaining families have access to the resources that can help them move into a more permanent housing solution.
New Orleans, LA, January 19, 2011 -- Tony Russell (center), FEMA Region VI Regional Administrator, addresses the Team Approach Conference at the Louisiana Recovery Office. The event, hosted by FEMA in partnership with the State of Louisiana, was held to discuss and help establish permanent or longer-term housing plans for these remaining families.