GNO, Inc. Recognizes, Supports National Disaster Resilience Competition Finalists

NEW ORLEANS – GNO, Inc. has pledged support to the Louisiana finalists for the U.S. Housing & Urban Development Department’s (HUD) National Disaster Resilience Competition. The State of Louisiana, Jefferson Parish, the City of New Orleans, and St. Tammany Parish will now move to Phase Two of the competition.

         HUD’s National Disaster Resilience Competition makes $1 billion available to communities that have been struck by natural disasters in recent years. The competition promotes risk assessment, stakeholder engagement, and planning and will fund the implementation of innovative resilience projects to better prepare communities for future storms and other extreme events.  Funding for the competition is from the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) appropriation provided by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 (PL 113-2), which made emergency funds available for Hurricane Sandy and other Presidentially declared major disasters occurring in 2011-2013.

         “Greater New Orleans, Inc. is pleased to support the Louisiana applicants for the National Disaster Resilience Competition,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “This innovative competition will ensure that Louisiana continues to be on the forefront of resilience, and will make us a safer and economically productive region for the long-term. We are pleased that the Greater New Orleans Water Plan has featured prominently in the Louisiana applications and look forward to working with all four finalists in Phase 2 of the competition.”

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         “We are pleased that HUD recognized the need for continued improvement to the state's resilience by moving our application, along with those of Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes and the City of New Orleans, into the next phase of this competition,” said Pat Forbes, Executive Director of the Louisiana Office of Community Development. "We're excited for the opportunity to work with our partners to fully develop our ideas into real resilience-improving projects that address the needs we've heard from our affected citizens and to create our Phase 2 application."

         “Jefferson Parish is pleased to be selected as a finalist in Phase II of HUD’s National Disaster Resilience Competition,” said Jefferson Parish President John Young.  Phase I allowed Jefferson Parish to work with talented partners such as GNO, Inc., JEDCO, CPRA, and our neighboring communities to identify disaster risks as well as collaborate on projects that foster resilience throughout Jefferson Parish and Southeast Louisiana.  Jefferson Parish recognizes the delicate balance between water and the need to embrace sound water management practices to maintain our culturally unique community.”

         “New Orleans knows the dangerous impacts of a natural disaster all too well and the importance of preparation,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “As New Orleans approaches the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina later this year and our 300th anniversary in 2018, our focus is on building a better, stronger and more resilient community that is fully prepared for whatever challenges we may face in the future. I am very proud that New Orleans has been selected as a finalist for the National Disaster Resilience Competition and am confident our innovative, comprehensive proposals will do well in the next and final stage. Through our partnership and collaboration with The Rockefeller Foundation as a part of 100 Resilient Cities initiative, New Orleans is already showcasing our ability to successfully rebound from disasters and man-made chronic stresses and to learn from others. New Orleans is the nation’s greatest laboratory for innovation and change, and I look forward to working with HUD and the Rockefeller Foundation as we implement new ideas and strategies here in New Orleans in order to share the lessons we learn with communities all over America.”

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         “The opportunity to compete as finalists in the National Disaster Resilience Competition is incredibly exciting,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “It places us in a position to receive significant funding to implement resiliency projects, such as flood protection, infrastructure enhancement, and economic development. As we look to the future of St. Tammany, our goal is to invest in multi-layered projects that protect our residents and their property, and at the same time preserve our quality of life.”

         Aligned closely with a companion education and technical assistance effort by the Rockefeller Foundation, HUD’s competition is designed to help states and local communities recover from past disasters while improving their ability to withstand future extreme events through strategic community investments.

         The winners of the competition will be announced in early 2016.

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