Commerce Department Marks 6th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with $1.5 Million Investment to Advance Economic Recovery in Louisiana
August 29, 2011
Contact: John Atwood, (202) 482-4085
WASHINGTON - Today, six years after Hurricane Katrina descended on the Gulf Coast, leading to the devastation of parts of Louisiana, U.S. Commerce Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank announced a $1.5 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the South Central Planning and Development Commission (SCPDC) of Houma, La., to expand emergency command center operations at the Regional Center for Economic Development and Innovation. SCPDC is a preeminent economic development organization that provides access to capital for small, medium, and ethnically diverse enterprises.
"The Obama Administration remains deeply committed to recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast and helping those affected rebuild their communities to be stronger and more resilient than ever before," Blank said. "This EDA grant is just one of many ways this administration is helping to bring innovation and growth back to the Gulf to advance the region's economic recovery."
Expanded operations will support the Commission's new permitting and code enforcement software system that enables digital imaging of buildings to allow city reviewers to electronically monitor buildings instead of having to track down and review paper plans, which hindered the city's ability to inspect buildings for structural damage after the hurricanes. SCPDC provides building code enforcement for five parishes and five municipalities in the region. The new system will increase the efficiency of building inspections following disasters, speeding up the rebuilding process.
Gulf Coast communities have been hit hard in recent years, but Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida have made significant progress toward recovery since President Obama took office, with help from agencies across the Federal government. The U.S. Commerce Department has invested millions of dollars to jumpstart economic and job growth in the Gulf and has accelerated efforts since President Obama took office. The administration has taken significant steps to eliminate bureaucratic red tape that has delayed assistance, including obligating billions in public assistance funds to support the recovery in Louisiana and Mississippi that had previously been stalled, and has continued to work with state and local partners to provide assistance to the region.
In the six years since the storm, families have returned to the Gulf region, houses have been rebuilt, and schools and businesses have reopened, and the President has made it clear that he will stand with the people in the Gulf through the restoration and revitalization process. To give a couple of recent examples, last month, the White House hosted Gulf Coast Sustainable Economies Roundtables to hear from local small business owners and government officials from across the region to discuss the growth of clean energy in sectors like biofuels and solar, sustainable development, and commercial and industrial efficiency—industries that will help to diversify and strengthen economies in the Gulf Coast region. The White House has also honored 18 Gulf Coast community leaders as White House 'Champions of Change'.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration:
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.