Department of the Interior

Office of the Secretary
For Immediate Release:
July 26, 2006
Gerry Gaumer, 202-208-68436
or Frank Quimby, 202-208-7291


Secretary Kempthorne Announces $27.5 million in Grants for Hurricane Disaster Relief in Mississippi

WASHINGTON – Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne today announced the award of $27.5 million in 2006 Hurricane Disaster Relief Grants to Mississippi.

The funding will help Mississippi State Historic Preservation Offices carry out compliance review, technical assistance, and stabilization and repair of historic properties damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that are listed in or considered eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

“Hurricanes Katrina and Rita severely damaged the cultural soul of that area,” said Kempthorne. “This funding will provide much needed assistance in helping restore historic properties damaged by those storms. Special thanks go to Senators Thad Cochran and Mary Landrieu whose leadership and untiring efforts made this funding a reality. Because of their belief in preserving this nation’s historic heritage, invaluable historic structures in Mississippi have a better chance of survival.”

The funds will provide grants to the owners of historic homes that suffered hurricane damage and will be administered by the state historic preservation officers in Mississippi. All National Register or National Register-eligible properties in areas affected by the hurricanes will qualify for the funds. Preference will be given to properties in National Heritage Areas, owner-occupied houses, and those with an ability to spend the funds expeditiously. The legislation specifies that all of the money must be obligated by September 2007.

These funds were made available under the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Hurricane Recovery of 2006 (P.L. 109-234). Eligible activities that may be funded by these grants include 1) hiring additional staff to enable the State Historic Preservation Offices to expeditiously conduct reviews of all Federally funded or sponsored projects required by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act; 2) preservation technical assistance to local government officials and to all owners of properties listed in or considered eligible by the State Historic Preservation Officer for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and 3) architectural/engineering plans and specifications, economic feasibility studies, damage assessments, construction work to stabilize and repair historic and archeological properties, and recordation of hurricane-damaged properties.

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