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NEW ORLEANS-The wait is over for a block of funds to help rebuild homes and infrastructure in Louisiana. Yesterday, HUD cleared $4.2 billion in emergency funding from its Community Development Block Grant program.

In a press release, HUD deputy secretary Roy A. Bernardi and chairman Donald Powell said the funds would be geared toward helping homeowners and community leaders to rebuild hurricane-ravaged communities. The funds are part of an overall $94-billion spending package that passed congressional muster in recent weeks, with much of the money being earmarked for the Iraq War. Also included in the CDBG program is $1 billion for other Gulf Coast states. Additional funds in excess of $5 billion have already been issued through CDBG programs in other states.

The follow-up HUD funding complements $1 billion allocated to the state late last year. Part of the initial funding went into researching and authoring a report, “The Road Home,” which focused on how could most effectively be used to rebuild the area. The report was compiled by a consortium of state and local officials and the Louisiana Recovery Authority. As part of the rebuilding process, HUD also recently announced an additional $154 million has been dedicated to rebuilding New Orleans’ public housing.

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