HUD No. 05-119
September 7, 2005
HUD'S CALL TO ACTION IDENTIFIES THOUSANDS OF TEMPORARY HOMES FOR VICTIMS OF HURRICANE KATRINA
HUD encouraging mayors and county officials to join national effort to house displaced families
WASHINGTON – Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today announced a partnership with the nation's mayors and county officials to identify thousands of available homes to temporarily house displaced families in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Initially, the Department identified nearly 5,000 vacant single-family HUD-owned properties in 11 states near the affected areas. In addition, public housing authorities within a 500-mile radius of New Orleans estimate they have approximately 5,600 vacant units that could be made available to public housing residents forced to evacuate their homes.
With the help of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and the National Association of Counties (NACo), HUD anticipates thousands of additional homes may be available. HUD, USCM and NACo are therefore encouraging local officials at every level to conduct an inventory of their vacant housing stock to identify properties that might provide temporary housing for those dislocated from their homes.
"Having a roof over your head is one of the most basic human needs," said Jackson. "I can assure you that together with our local partners, we're working overtime to make certain every available home will be offered to families who may have lost everything."
Immediately after the hurricane, Jackson contacted the USCM and NACo to seek their support in identifying vacant homes and apartments that might temporarily house displaced persons and families. The response has been overwhelming. For example, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Philadelphia Mayor John Street are each offering more than 1,000 homes. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is offering a minimum of 885 units capable of housing an estimated 1,500 persons. Local leaders in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania are offering to assist 1,000 displaced persons find temporary housing and Miami-Dade County is offering to house another 3,000 people.
"The nation's mayors stand ready to help in any way possible in this time of urgent need," said Beverly O'Neill, USCM President and Mayor of Long Beach, California. "Mayors from all over the country are galvanizing to identify housing to relocate the hundreds of thousands of people who will need it. But we don't intend to stop there. We are willing to do whatever it takes to save lives and help cities rebuild."
NACo President and Umatilla County, Oregon Commissioner Bill Hansell said, "Whether it is temporary shelters, plots of land to build on, fairgrounds, empty gymnasiums, or any other type of housing, county officials from all over the country understand the urgent need for temporary housing for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Already, the response from counties has been phenomenal. Nearly 50 counties have offered to house thousands of displaced residents, and many county officials are welcoming families into their homes."
In addition, the nonprofit and faith-based communities are joining the coordinated national response effort. Habitat for Humanity International is offering to collaborate with HUD to rebuild lower income affordable housing in the months to come. All across the country, private concerns are lending their support to find suitable homes for Hurricane victims by launching information-sharing online forums to match families in need with available homes.
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 as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.