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Published:January 3rd, 2007 13:07 EST
New Welcome Home Center Opens

New Welcome Home Center Opens

By SOP newswire

NEW ORLEANS, La. -- In a cooperative effort to serve the citizens of the metro New Orleans area in their recovery, the ‘Welcome Home Center’ opens to the public today, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2007. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will continue to provide federal assistance to applicants at this new location, 1250 Poydras, on the 14th floor, in downtown New Orleans.

The Welcome Home Center houses agencies and organizations that provide resources to those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The FEMA functions at the former Disaster Recovery Center (DRC), previously located in the New Orleans Main Library Branch at 219 Loyola Avenue, have now shifted to the new Welcome Home Center. The new Center includes FEMA disaster recovery services, as well as the Small Business Administration, The City of New Orleans’ Welcome Home Staff, the Louisiana Department of Social Services, Disaster Child Care through the Church of the Brethren (counseling and play activities for children to help them deal with grief and loss issues), Counseling Services provided by Louisiana Spirit and the Tzu Chi Foundation, and other local and national nonprofit organizations.

“In an effort to better serve our customers and the recovery of Southeast Louisiana, we are proud to be a part of this one-stop information center,” said James Stark, director, FEMA’s Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office. “We will continue to improve our customer service and encourage applicants to visit the Welcome Home Center to help aid in their personal road to recovery.”

The remaining DRC in the New Orleans area will continue to serve residents at 15 Westbank Expressway, Westbank Shopping Center, Gretna, La. 70053. The operating business hours for both the Welcome Home Center and the Westbank DRC are Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Written materials about various state and federal programs are also available for individuals and business owners at the Poydras and Westbank Shopping Center locations.

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, an applicant must complete an SBA loan application to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.