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Federal Coordinator Douglas O'Dell Hosts Gulf Coast Rental Housing Roundtable

Release Date: November 18, 2008

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: Rebecca S. Cotton (202) 325-0197

Washington, D.C. – General Douglas O'Dell, Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding, today told experts gathered for a rental housing roundtable discussion that their ideas were key in helping restore, rebuild and build affordable rental housing for the residents of Louisiana. O'Dell hosted the roundtable discussion with housing experts from the private and nonprofit sector, as well as those with federal, state and local governments.

"There is no silver bullet.  Government alone cannot create every solution - in fact some solutions involve government getting out of the way of those currently addressing the issues on the ground,” O'Dell said.  “The recommendations of those with first-hand experience in the region - those who have had the desire and courage to invest, improve property and swing a hammer are often the ones that need to be heard the loudest in Washington, D.C."

O'Dell reiterated to the panel the importance of providing affordable housing, noting that only a few hundred units are currently available. Hurricane Katrina destroyed more than 50,000 rental units in New Orleans and damaged thousands of apartments, affecting two-thirds of the city’s rental stock.

The panel of experts was convened following a mandate from Congress to develop a framework for affordable rental housing in the Gulf Coast. As part of this framework, the OFC is in the process of examining the affordable rental housing landscape in the Gulf, the barriers that still exist, and what policy changes could be recommended to address these barriers. The panel focused on three major factors: supply, cost and location. The OFC will report its findings and recommendations findings to Congress and to all citizens by December 30, 2008. The report will be available for review on the OFC Web site at: www.dhs.gov/gulfcoastrebuild.

OFC Rental Housing Roundtable scheduled participants included:

  • Wil Jacobs, Director of Housing, Louisiana Recovery Authority
  • David Dixon, Principal in Charge for Planning and Design, Goody Clancy
  • Bart Harvey, Former Chair and CEO, Enterprise Community Partners
  • Amy Liu, Deputy Director, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution
  • Daniel Rothschild, Director of the Gulf Coast Recovery Project at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Mercatus Center at George Mason University
  • Eileen Norcross, Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center at George Mason University
  • Buzz Roberts, Senior Vice President for Policy and Program Development, Local Initiatives Support Corporation
  • Barbara Burnham, Senior Director of Federal Policy and Congressional Relations, Local Initiatives Support Corporation
  • Ken Ford, Program Manager, Mitigation and Disaster Response, National Association of Homebuilders
  • Brad Gair, Deputy Commissioner, New York City Office of Emergency Management
  • Pamela H. Patenaude, Executive Director, Terwilliger Center for Workforce Housing, Urban Land Institute
  • Chris Monforton, CEO, Habitat for Humanity—Mississippi
  • Kalima Rose, Director of the Louisiana Initiative, PolicyLink
  • Zack Rosenburg, Director and Co-Founder, St. Bernard Project
  • Jeff Soule, Director of Outreach, American Planning Association
  • Jason Spellings, Office of Recovery and Renewal, Office of the Governor, State of Mississippi
  • Margery Turner, Director, Center on Metropolitan Housing and Communities, Urban Institute
  • Mark Viator, Chairman, Southeast Texas Recovery Coalition, Hurricane Rita
  • Michelle Whetten, Local Director, Gulf Coast Project, Enterprise Community Partners
  • Peter Del Toro, Assistant Director for Strategic Issues, Government Accountability Office

Other Federal agencies represented included the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Office of the Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding has been engaged in facilitating and streamlining the recovery effort, providing key federal support and resources to state and local leaders, as well as reinforcing the federal government’s commitment to the people of the Gulf Coast.



This page was last reviewed/modified on November 18, 2008.