hudpublicaffairs on Tue, 29 Aug 2006 07:05:02 +0200 (CEST)

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                         10:30 AM CDT
                    MONDAY, AUGUST 28, 2006


In a bold reversal of policy, the Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD) announced today that they will reopen public
housing in New Orleans and embark on a bold new plan to help former
residents get back home.

At The Gulf Coast Reconstruction & Hurricane Preparedness Summit,
organized by Equity International
(, HUD Secretary Alphonso
Jackson admitted that the agency has been headed down the wrong path
for the last year.

"Our charter, here at HUD, is to ensure access to affordable housing
for those who need it the most. This past year in New Orleans, I am
ashamed to say that we have clearly failed to do this," said Jackson.

For many years, the official policy of HUD has been to replace
existing HUD projects with mixed-income developments, and to disperse
the remaining residents throughout the city. This policy has
continued after Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of New Orleans last
year, even though thousands of residents would like to return.

"We were wrong to prevent people from returning home at this critical
time, especially when the new master plan was going to keep them out
for good," Jackson said. "Today, it is my great pleasure to announce
to you that HUD is reversing our policy. From now on, and beginning
at all Orleans parish housing communities, our policy will no longer
be to destroy much-needed housing, but to do all in our power to make
it work."

The new plans include a significant increase in funding, amounting to
3.8 billion dollars in renovation and opportunity-creation contracts
in the affected communities. This is welcome news not only for the
public housing residents, but also for the contractors who can help
them get home. Equity International's Reconstruction Summit was
chosen for the announcement because it brings together key business
executives and government leaders at the local, state, and national
levels to facilitate new reconstruction and preparedness solutions.

"With the know-how in this room today, and this new funding package
from the federal government, we can fix New Orleans, not just for the
benefit of a few but for everyone," said Jackson in closing.

For the entire text of the speech, please visit

Media Contacts:

Rene Oswin
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street S.W., Washington, DC 20410

William Loiry
Equity International

Erica Orange
Communications Manager
Equity International

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