December 12, 2019 | From City of New Orleans

City Announces Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Planning Process, Asks for Community Input

NEW ORLEANS — In January 2020, the City of New Orleans will begin a year-long process to update its hazard mitigation plan, which details the risks faced by the region —both man-made and naturally occurring — and outlines risk reduction strategies to save lives, reduce property damage, and lessen the impact of future disasters. The plan helps guide the City and its partners to implement these strategies throughout New Orleans in the near term.

“The hazard mitigation planning process allows us to be strategic with our key local partners to reduce risk now, before disaster strikes,” said New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Collin Arnold. “I’m thrilled to have so many partners at the table to design what will certainly be the most innovative — and timely — mitigation plan New Orleans has seen to date.”

For the first time ever, the City’s plan will be multi-jurisdictional with major stakeholders involved as signatories, including the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, Housing Authority of New Orleans, Orleans Parish School Board, Dillard University, Loyola University of New Orleans, Tulane University, and Xavier University. Together in this planning process, these entities will identify shared resilience goals, increase access to joint mitigation efforts and grant opportunities, and leverage resources to increase risk education and community outreach.

“It is not a matter of if a disaster strikes the city, but when, and it is critical that we have the best risk-reduction strategies in place to mitigate the effects our city and her people face,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “Since I have taken office, we have made great strides in pushing out and planning vital hazard mitigation projects, specifically those geared towards internal water management. We all have a shared responsibility in protecting ourselves and sustaining the city for years to come. For the first time in the City’s history we are bringing our partners and residents to the table, asking for their input and inviting them to be a part of the process because it affects us all.”

Maintaining an up-to-date hazard mitigation plan is a federal requirement to apply for and receive grant funds through any of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Hazard Mitigation Assistance programs. Since 2005, the City of New Orleans has secured nearly $400 million in such funds, which have been utilized to harden public buildings, elevate residential properties that have experienced repetitive flooding, mitigate Sewerage and Water Board infrastructure, launch large-scale green infrastructure projects, provide emergency backup power to critical facilities and enhance the NOLA Ready emergency preparedness campaign.

Earlier this year, the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness announced the awards of $12.5 million to elevate 52 additional severe repetitive-loss properties and $532,000 to retrofit Sarah T. Reed High School against high winds and wind-driven rain. The City also celebrated the completion of $6.5 million in large-scale drainage improvements on Dillard’s campus. These projects were made possible, in part, by the City’s hazard mitigation planning process and the cooperation and coordination of the agencies that will be together drafting the 2020 plan.

How to Get Involved

The Hazard Mitigation Office, housed in the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, will oversee the planning process. The hazard mitigation plan plays a large role in guiding future investments made and projects undertaken by the City of New Orleans and its partners. As such, community engagement in the plan development is integral to ensure that identified risks and strategies reflect what matters to New Orleans residents. Already throughout 2019, the City has conducted pre-planning focus group engagement with stakeholders, including community and business leaders, environmental and industry organizations, advocacy and disability organizations, and arts and cultural organizations.

Today, the City is launching a public survey that will help identify what hazards and risk reduction strategies matter most to our residents.

Take the Risk Reduction Survey

Please take five minutes to submit answers to this eight question survey. The information will help the City understand what is important to you, what risks impact you the most, and how you would like to see New Orleans become more resilient. Take the survey online or text SURVEY to 504-608-3230.

Throughout 2020, the City will host public meetings and other engagement opportunities for community members to provide input. All updates will also be posted to — which will become the updated plan. Community members are encouraged to sign up for email updates or text HAZARDPLAN to 468-311 to receive details on engagement opportunities.


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