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PRESIDENT CLINTON ANNOUNCES EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE TO HELP OKLAHOMA AND KANSAS RECOVER FROM TORNADO DEVASTATION
President Clinton's announcement today of federal disaster relief for tornado-ravaged Oklahoma and Kansas included $250,000 worth of emergency technical assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
HUD's technical assistance will fund the services of experts who will provide advice to disaster-stricken communities. Communities will use the advice to help them find the best ways to repair and rebuild homes and businesses, prepare for future disasters, and repair the infrastructure in neighborhoods.
In addition, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced that HUD will immediately make available $17.8 million in community development grants that were scheduled to go to Oklahoma communities later in the year. HUD will give communities increased flexibility so the funds can be used for disaster recovery.
The $17.8 million is part of HUD's annual allocation under the Community Development Block Grant, HOME, and Emergency Shelter Grant programs for Oklahoma City, Midwest City, Tulsa, and the Tulsa County HOME Consortium. At the request of a community, HUD can also waive the 25 percent HOME matching fund requirement for disaster recovery.
To cope with an immediate housing shortage for tornado victims, Cuomo said HUD will allow families made homeless by the disaster to move into about 500 units of vacant HUD-assisted affordable housing on a temporary basis.
Cuomo announced that other HUD disaster relief efforts in Oklahoma will include: staffing emergency relief centers to help people apply for assistance under a broad range of HUD programs, allowing families to occupy HUD-assisted housing regardless of their income, providing financing insured by the Federal Housing Administration to rebuild homes, finding temporary housing for families in properties not assisted by HUD, and giving communities in Oklahoma and Kansas more time to apply for annual HUD funding for homeless assistance programs.
"Nothing we can do can lessen the pain of losing a loved one, a home or a business in a disaster," Cuomo said. "In the face of these terrible tornadoes, HUD is joining with other federal agencies to help the courageous and determined victims begin the long and hard job of rebuilding."
HUD Deputy Secretary Saul Ramirez accompanied the President today on a tour of Oklahoma to view tornado damage and meet with survivors.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009