HUD Secretary Lends St. Bernard Project a Hand

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The St. Bernard Project today received its latest, and likely greatest, high-profile volunteer: Shaun Donovan, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The Chalmette-based nonprofit, whose founders Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg were 2008 recipients of both CNN’s Hero of the Year and Gambit’s New Orleanians of the Year, has previously hosted MTV and actress AnnaLynne McCord, but the visit by the HUD secretary is the best sign yet that the struggles of displaced families in greater New Orleans — at least 10,000 of whom still reside in FEMA trailers or temporary housing, the project reports — remain on the president's radar. Donovan joined 250 volunteers from around the country in Gentilly to celebrate the expansion of McCartney and Rosenburg's 2006 start-up into Orleans Parish. To date, with a construction budget of less than $15,000 per house, it has helped 218 families return home to St. Bernard Parish.

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