CUOMO ANNOUNCES NEW ASSISTANCE TO CREATE THOUSANDS OF NEW HOMES IN NATIONS DEVASTATED BY HURRICANES MITCH AND GEORGES
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today
announced new private sector assistance that will create thousands of new homes in Central American and Caribbean nations devastated by Hurricanes Mitch and Georges, and said HUD will send teams of experts to the nations to help speed reconstruction.
"I have seen the terrible toll of death and destruction caused by Hurricanes Mitch and Georges," Cuomo said. "In just a few days, these storms left behind as much damage as years of war. The Clinton Administration, American families making contributions, business and non-profit groups are all working together to help our neighbors recover from this tragedy, and to help them build stronger homes and stronger communities than existed before."
Speaking to a Clinton Administration conference of government officials, non-profit groups and businesses working to assist the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, Cuomo announced:
Habitat for Humanity International is coordinating donations to the rebuilding effort.
- Four companies that are members of the Building Systems Council of the National Association of Home Builders will provide the hurricane-ravaged nations with about 10,000 panelized homes, a type of partially constructed home that can be quickly assembled on a lot into a finished house. The companies will provide the homes at a cost of just under $6,000 each - the cost of manufacture, forgoing any profit. In addition, the companies will pay for the cost of transporting the homes and pay the cost of sending construction experts to teach local workers how to erect the homes. For many impoverished families, the new low-cost homes will be a considerable improvement from the severely substandard housing they lived in before the hurricanes hit. The companies providing the homes are: Forest Homes of Pennsylvania, Wausau Homes of Wisconsin, Signature Building Systems of Pennsylvania, and Deltec Homes of North Carolina.
- HUD will send several delegations of experts from HUD and the private sector to the hurricane-ravaged nations beginning in January. The delegations will work with governments and businesses in the region to help them develop innovative ways of building affordable housing, providing widely accessible mortgage financing, improving land management and developing new and more appropriate building standards. The delegations will include representatives of the American Institute of Architects and the National Association of Home Builders. The architects group will also send a separate team to the region to assess housing and community planning needs. Many of the experts in the delegations will speak Spanish.
- International Paper and its subsidiary, Masonite, will donate building and construction materials for homes, including paneling for interior walls, a material that can be used in roof construction, and 1,000 interior doors.
- Home Depot stores around the nation will provide more new and used tools for hurricane victims. Last week Cuomo presented Honduras with 2,500 pounds of tools donated by customers of Home Depot stores around the United States and by The Stanley Works, manufacturer of Stanley tools. The delivery represented only a portion of the 5,000 new tools Stanley is donating and the thousands of tools collected in Home Depot's 724 stores in 43 states. After extending the tool drive through last Sunday, Home Depot is currently working to sort, pack and ship the tools to areas in need.
Cuomo visited Honduras and Nicaragua last week, where he announced HUD will provide $5 million in assistance to help rebuild housing in nations devastated by Hurricane Mitch. The HUD aid is part of $125 million in U.S. reconstruction aid to the nations announced last week by President Clinton. The President also announced $17 million in new food aid.
President Clinton sent Cuomo to visit Nicaragua and Honduras to report on actions the United States can take to assist rebuilding efforts. The Secretary was part of a group that included Senators Pete Domenici of New Mexico and Bill Frist of Tennessee, along with USAID Deputy Administrator Hattie Babbitt.
Earlier this fall, Cuomo visited Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic in the wake of Hurricane Georges. HUD officials then returned in October and are continuing to assist with reconstruction efforts.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009