HUD No. 06-115
September 18, 2006
JACKSON APPROVES LOUISIANA RECOVERY PLANS TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES, BOOST TOURISM, AND REBUILD INFRASTRUCTURE & SCHOOLS
$709 million to spark economic development, tourism and jobs
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today approved two disaster recovery plans, totaling $709 million, that are designed to fuel economic development, small business recovery, and tourism in Louisiana. The plans approved today are also intended to restore vital infrastructure, rebuild damaged schools and to offer job training opportunities to lower-income residents returning to Louisiana.
"The small business community will be the engine that drives the long-term recovery in Louisiana," said Jackson. "These plans are designed to bring critically needed jobs back to the Bayou State, to jumpstart the tourism industry and to support the brick and mortar work needed to restore Louisiana's infrastructure."
"HUD, through the leadership of Secretary Jackson and his team, has continued to quickly and efficiently push money out the door to help drive long-term rebuilding on the Gulf Coast," said Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding Coordinator Donald E. Powell. "These funds will help jump start and sustain the economic foundation of recovery for years to come."
"The $28.5 million in federal funds to promote Louisiana tourism is crucial to standing up our economy," said Senator Mary L. Landrieu. "Thousands of jobs and small businesses in hurricane damaged areas of Louisiana depend heavily upon conventions and tourists and the foot traffic they bring. This assistance, which was approved by Congress in December, is crucial to our recovery and our state's tourism and convention marketing program."
Senator David Vitter said, "This is great news for Louisiana. I am glad that Secretary Jackson has made this commitment to our state. With this federal approval, Louisiana will be able to aggressively market the wonderful things our great state offers and also help get our small businesses associated with tourism back on their feet."
Since last year's hurricanes, HUD, through the Department's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, allocated $10.4 billion to Louisiana to drive the state's long-term recovery efforts. Louisiana's two plans include:
Economic Development Programs ($171 million)
Tens of thousands of businesses were seriously affected as a result of last year's hurricanes. In response, the state of Louisiana is investing an additional $171 million through its CDBG disaster funding to stimulate economic development in a number of different ways. The four economic development programs approved today are intended: To offer small firms access to loan and grant capital; to provide technical assistance to help companies adjust to a new business environment; and to grant funding for tourism marketing to attract visitors and conventions to Louisiana.
Combined, the economic development programs are expected to help companies retain and create jobs, specifically for lower income individuals. The following programs are included in Louisiana's Economic Development Programs approved today:
Small Firm Recovery Loan and Grant Program ($38 million)
Louisiana's Small Firm Recovery Loan and Grant Program will provide grants to small companies located in southern parishes that are deemed to have a chance to survive, to contribute to the local economy and to maintain and create jobs. This program will also offer low-cost loans with flexible terms to firms that may not qualify for or have received bank and/or Small Business Administration (SBA) loans.
Technical Assistance to Small Firms Program ($9.5 million)
The Technical Assistance to Small Firms Program will offer $9.5 million to be used to contract with community-based organizations and other service providers to assist smaller companies adversely affected by the hurricanes. These technical assistance grants may also be used to provide technical assistance to entrepreneurs or individuals seeking to start a new business in affected areas of Louisiana.
Long Term Recovery Loan Guarantee Program ($95 million)
HUD's CDBG program is currently supporting Louisiana's Disaster Bridge Loan Program that has, to date, kept more than 700 businesses viable with no-cost gap financing until the firm's insurance companies pay off their losses or an SBA Disaster Loan is funded. Louisiana's Long Term Recovery Loan Guarantee Program will provide $95 million to create a longer term loan program and will motivate banks to provide loans to viable small businesses that may be experiencing difficulty securing conventional financing or SBA loans.
Louisiana Tourism Marketing Program ($28.5 million)
In 2004, the Travel Industry Association of America estimated that nearly 25 million visitors came to Louisiana and spent approximately $10 billion, contributing $600 million to tax revenues in the process. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, tourism was the second largest industry in the state accounting for 260,000 jobs for Louisiana residents. Following last year's hurricanes, the job losses in Louisiana's tourism and cultural industries has been staggering.
The Louisiana Tourism Marketing Program will commit $28.5 million in CDBG funding to: Save small businesses that cater to the convention and tourism industries; retain businesses that are part of the charm and character of New Orleans and South Louisiana; increase the number of available jobs and wages; and boost tax revenues for the communities where these businesses reside. In addition, the program's advertising and marketing effort will build on the state's "Fall in Love with Louisiana All Over Again" Campaign.
Infrastructure Programs ($500 million)
Louisiana is expanding its CDBG-funded programs to rebuild vital infrastructure in the state through The Local Government Emergency Infrastructure and The Primary and Secondary Education Infrastructure programs. HUD is approving $300 million to help local city and parish governments in Louisiana to pay for repairs of infrastructure that are FEMA-ineligible or to meet critical needs not covered by insurance. In addition, $200 million will be set aside to help the state work with local school districts to restore damaged or destroyed schools.
Workforce Training Program ($38 million)
The loss of jobs due to last year's hurricanes touched every sector of Louisiana's economy requiring the state to address re-employment as a top priority in its long-term redevelopment plans. To address the critical deficiencies in skill and educational levels, Louisiana will devote $38 million to fund its Workforce Training Program. Job training programs funded under this CDBG-supported activity will be located in parishes in southeast and southwest Louisiana most affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
To read more about Louisiana's disaster recovery plans approved today, visit:
|Economic Development, Infrastructure, Tourism Programs|
|Recovery Workforce Training Program|
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development, and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov. For more information about FHA products, please visit www.fha.gov.