Information about the GAPPS New Orleans Relief and Reconstruction Project 2011 can now be found at www.gappsservice.com.
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May 16th, 2010 students from the University of Connecticut will travel to volunteer in the rebuilding and reconstruction of the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana. This trip is organized by the University of Connecticut Graduate Student Association of the Department of Public Policy (GAPPS).
GAPPS mission is to provide supports and opportunities to students pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. GAPPS also works to identify and pursue opportunities to engage students in community outreach.
In 2007, motivated by the sight of enduring devastation, a group of graduate students from the University of Connecticut’s Department of Public Policy drove to New Orleans after graduation day to work on home reconstruction in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward.
Every year since 2007, GAPPS has organized students to travel to New Orleans to contribute to the rebuilding effort.
Due to its proximity to the breach on the East side of the Industrial Canal levee, the Lower Ninth Ward suffered some of the worst flooding in the Greater New Orleans area. As one of the city’s poorer outlying neighborhoods—services, government help, and media attention have seemingly forgotten this community. Prior to the storm, the Lower Ninth Ward was a vibrant working class neighborhood with a long history of community involvement.
As of August 2009, it is estimated that 75% of New Orleans’ overall population has returned whereas the Lower Ninth Ward is estimated to have only 20% of its population returned.
The city threatens low income homeowners with expropriation if they cannot afford to maintain their devastated lots. Volunteers help homeowners who cannot afford maintenance costs or who may live too far away to do the work themselves. This way they have a place to return to one day.