HUD Offers Free Training Program on Safe Rehabilitation of Hurricane-Damaged Homes in New Orleans

How-to workshops designed to protect thousands of homeowners, contractors and volunteers

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today launched a free training program to instruct homeowners, contractors and volunteers in the New Orleans area on how to safely rehabilitate properties damaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The training gives step-by-step instructions on safe and proper cleanup and mold removal; and practical tips to avoid fraudulent contractors.

HUD’s “Safe Rehabilitation of Hurricane-Damaged Homes” will also help homeowners to comply with local requirements that they remediate their homes. For more information about these free training sessions, visit HUD’s website or go directly to www.rebuildhealthyhomes.com for schedules and registration info.

“As we work to help families rebuild their homes, we want to make certain that everyone rebuilds in the safest way possible so nobody gets hurt,” said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. “This free training program will offer step-by-step instructions to rehabilitate homes safely so homeowners and other volunteers can protect themselves as they rebuild their lives.”

The Safe Rehabilitation of Hurricane-Damaged Homes training course will be offered at many convenient locations throughout New Orleans. Those who attend the training will receive step-by-step instructions demonstrating safe and proper mold and lead paint removal; safe work habits that can prevent accidents such as heat exhaustion, electric shock, and carbon monoxide poisoning; and practical tips to identify and avoid fraudulent contractors. This guide is written in both English and Spanish and features detailed illustrations that make it simple for those rehabilitating homes to follow along as they work.

HUD worked directly with New Orleans homeowners to determine how best to support their rebuilding efforts and developed this training program to address the high priority issues that came from these conversations. Homeowners who have returned to New Orleans cited many different reasons as to why they have not yet begun to rehabilitate their homes: some people may not have the resources to hire someone to do the work, some may be waiting for volunteers or laborers to begin work on their property, and some may want to do the work themselves, but do not know how to start the process or do it safely.

This timely training program addresses all of the most significant safety issues confronting anyone rehabilitating hurricane-damaged homes. In addition, it empowers homeowners to accelerate the rebuilding process by providing them with information on the steps needed to get started or to hire a credible contractor. The workshops will increase safety awareness and help prevent illnesses-including lead poisoning, respiratory ailments, and allergic reactions-as well as accidents and injuries that can occur when rehabilitation is done without proper safety.

The training program will be available to New Orleans homeowners and workers beginning in April 2007. Homeowners, contractors or volunteers seeking information about these workshops can email traininginfo@consolidatedsafety.com for dates, times and locations.

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