The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency has contracted with five corporations to speed emergency housing relief to Gulf Coast families displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
These emergency contracts joined a new Housing Area Command created and led by FEMA to address the extreme housing needs of the region and the more than 1 million people who were forced to flee their homes because of the storm. While not all evacuees will require housing, currently 163,000 citizens of Louisiana are now residing in shelters.
The Housing Area Command includes FEMA, the private sector contractors and partners from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the American Red Cross. Their primary goal is to secure emergency housing for all displaced disaster victims. The command will also develop plans for longer-term solutions to address housing needs in the wake of a storm that affected 90,000 square miles. The immediate site of the work will be the hardest hit states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
The corporations contracted for support include:
* The Shaw Group Inc., of Baton Rouge, La. will stay close to home and will provide design, construction, transportation, utilities and facilities management. The company is also providing support to hospitals and other public buildings.
* Fluor Corp. of Aliso Viejo, Calif. heads up operations for the Housing Area Command. An engineering and construction firm, it is now in Louisiana beginning construction on temporary housing units that will provide electricity, potable water and sanitary sewage facilities.
* Bechtel National Inc. of San Francisco, an engineering and construction firm that is now on the scene in Gulf states to provide emergency housing relief.
* CH2M Hill of Denver specializes in sewerage design, hazardous-waste cleanup and transportation projects such as highways and bridges. It will be working on providing housing in Alabama.
* Dewberry Technologies, Fairfax, Va., an advanced technologies company, will be providing planning and reporting tools.
J.M. Bernhard Jr., CEO of Shaw, said, “With our company headquartered in Baton Rouge, Shaw and its employees are especially affected by this unprecedented natural disaster and are committed to providing immediate recovery and rebuilding services. It gives us a tremendous sense of pride and purpose to play a key leadership role in assisting our neighbors within Louisiana and the entire Gulf Coast region.
“We have already mobilized over 2,000 people and have begun hiring craftsman and laborers, some displaced by the storm, so that they can participate in rebuilding the region and rebuilding their lives,” said Bernhard.
The Housing Area Command is the focal point for coordinating the federal response and for maximizing innovation and assistance from donors and businesses.
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