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Secretary Napolitano Announces FEMA Management Consolidation for Gulf Coast Recovery

Release Date: 
March 23, 2009

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

As part of her ongoing effort to streamline Gulf Coast recovery following her recent visit to New Orleans, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will transition management oversight of the Mississippi Long Term Recovery Office (LTRO) from Biloxi, Miss., to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regional office in Atlanta, Ga.

"This signifies all of the progress that has been made in Mississippi," said Secretary Napolitano. "Office consolidation will lead to faster decision making and smoother and more efficient operations as we move forward. It’s an important step in finishing the rebuilding effort and getting residents back on their feet even faster."

Earlier this month, Secretary Napolitano visited New Orleans with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan to listen to federal, state and local officials talk about the ongoing recovery. And on March 11, Secretary Napolitano announced the creation of the Unified Public Assistance Project Decision Team, designed to facilitate the decision-making process between FEMA and the State of Louisiana.

FEMA regional offices typically manage post-disaster recovery operations, but following Hurricane Katrina, LTROs in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas were created under the Gulf Coast Recovery Office. Offices in Texas and Alabama have already transitioned back to regional management. FEMA continues to operate its Louisiana office.

Acting FEMA Administrator Nancy Ward met with staff in the Mississippi LTRO today to discuss the transition.

“This is possible because of the many months of dedicated hard work by the staff here at the Recovery Office,” said Ward. “We know that we still have a lot of work left to do, but this will better streamline the Gulf Coast recovery and allow us to move forward more efficiently.”

While day-to-day operations will still be performed locally, Secretary Napolitano and Acting FEMA Administrator Nancy Ward believe the regional office team is best positioned to guide the process of securing permanent housing for affected families, and recovering their communities. The FEMA regional staff, led by a regional administrator who oversees FEMA programs in eight states, currently works closely with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency on all FEMA programs.

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