BILOXI, Miss. -- The beacon of the Biloxi Lighthouse was turned on this past month for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, marking both an actual and symbolic step in Mississippi’s rebuilding progress. The structure, renovated with assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi Management Agency, gleams as if new – as will much of the state when recovery work is completed.
There are additional projects nearing completion or just opened along and north of the Coast:
- Ground was broken in February in Forrest County for a stand alone community shelter that will house up to 1,000 people for 36 hours. FEMA is funding $1.6 million of the $2.1 million it will cost to construct the 10,000 square foot building.
- Long Beach City Hall construction is well underway with substantial completion expected in May of this year, thanks, in part, to more than $610,000 from FEMA.
Buildings and infrastructure are in the pipeline, underscoring Mississippi’s progress and growing strength in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The following is a summary of both FEMA Individual and Public assistance provided in the Mississippi recovery efforts from Aug. 29, 2005 through Feb. 26, 2010:
Assisting Individuals and Families
- FEMA has provided more than $1.3 billion to help families and individuals meet some of their basic needs following Katrina. More than 44,000 families received temporary housing assistance.
- As of Feb. 26, 2010 only 279 temporary housing units remained occupied in Mississippi – more than 99 percent of the families who once occupied FEMA temporary housing units have moved into their repaired or rebuilt homes or into more permanent housing.*
- More than 126,000 families in Mississippi have received rental assistance funds.
Some 2,830 Mississippi families moved from FEMA temporary housing to Mississippi Cottages. About 1,205 cottages are currently occupied. The Mississippi Cottages were developed through the Mississippi Alternative Housing Program, which is administered by MEMA and funded by a $280 million federal grant. The temporary housing portion of the program ended Jan. 31 2009. The program is in the process of converting units for permanent use by residents who remain in need. For more information about the program, visit www.mscottage.com.
Rebuilding Mississippi Infrastructure
- Nearly 900 state and local governments have applied for FEMA Public Assistance.
- More than $3.1 billion in FEMA Public Assistance funds has been obligated to rebuild infrastructure in Mississippi. Some of this grant money includes:
- Nearly $648 million for the restoration of public buildings;
- More than $903 million for public utilities;
- Almost $184 million for public recreational facilities;
- About $94 million for roads and bridges
Preparing for future disasters today
- FEMA has obligated more than $189 million for 292 Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) projects across the state.
- More than $77 million was approved for shelters to protect approximately 33,613 residents and first responders – with more on the way.
- A total of $293 million has been allocated for HMGP grants in Mississippi. Communities throughout the state are more prepared than ever for future disasters as 284 jurisdictions now have MEMA/FEMA approved hazard mitigation plans – up from only seven approved plans before Katrina.
- More than $2.8 billion in National Flood Insurance Program claims has been paid to Mississippi policy holders since Katrina with 98 percent of claims closed out. Mississippians...