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May. 25, 2013

Government, Nonprofits Rush to Moore’s Aid Following Tornado

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

In the wake of the May 20 tornado that ravaged Moore, Okla., killing at least 24 people, non-profit and governmental organizations have announced steps to address both the emergency response and long-term rebuilding.

Architecture for Humanity has started working with local and regional construction professionals to assess damage and support rebuilding. The nonprofit design services firm is working on rebuilding areas devastated by Superstorm Sandy and participated in rebuilding communities affected by Hurricane Katrina 2005.

“After the Haiti earthquake, students from Moore West Junior High raised funds for the organization to help rebuild schools for displaced students,” said Cameron Sinclair, Architecture for Humanity’s co-founder, in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the entire community of Moore, OK and those affected.”

The United States Department of Agriculture announced a series of measures it will take to help homeowners affected by the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma. “I have instructed all (U.S. Department of Agriculture)offices in the disaster area as well as other offices throughout Oklahoma to do whatever they can to ensure that residents get the help they need to recover from this devastating event as quickly as possible,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Toward that end, USDA will provide the Federal Emergency Management Agency with an inventory of unoccupied multi-family rental units. FEMA has notified lenders who guarantee USDA housing loans that they can offer a moratorium on mortgage payments to the borrowers in the disaster area.

Residents left homeless by the tornadoes will be given priority for placement in available USDA multi-family housing units and the owners of those complexes will be allowed to waive age and income eligibility rules.
USDA will also give FEMA a list of foreclosed properties in the department’s inventory that FEMA will be able to offer for temporary housing.

Photo Credits: DVIDSHUB via Flickr.com

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