The Bush administration wants the Gulf Coast states to use $11.5 billion in Community Development Block Grant funds to help homeowners rebuild their homes that were damaged or destroyed in the hurricanes last fall."It is critically important to focus on those homeowners who lived outside the flood plain who did not have flood insurance," said Donald Powell, the president's coordinator for Gulf Coast rebuilding. Mr. Powell told reporters that state officials also could apply to the Department of Housing and Urban Development to use CDBG funds to assist homeowners located in the flood plains. But he insisted that the $11.5 billion is sufficient to help those homeowners who live outside the flood plain. Congress approved the $11.5 billion in CDBG funds in December, and HUD Secretary Alfonso Jackson and Mr. Powell announced Jan. 25 that the hurricane-affected states can apply for the grants now. Louisiana is slated to receive $6.21 billion in CDBG funds, Mississippi $5.06 billion, and Alabama, Florida, and Texas the remainder of the block grant funds. "HUD's highest priority is to move this money out of Washington and into the areas of greatest need," Secretary Jackson said.

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