(From the Department of Housing and Urban Development)
Immediately after a raging E-5 tornado destroyed thousands of homes in Joplin, Missouri last May, Matt Moran jumped into action. The executive director of the Housing Authority of Joplin immediately made certain residents were safe and worked quickly to provide housing for those forced from their homes.
Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development presented Moran with the prestigious HUD Secretarial Award for his commitment and dedication in the early hours and days following that killer storm.
“Matt went above and beyond the call of duty immediately following this deadly tornado,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “He is the epitome of what a public employee and a leader should be. His compassion and quick actions speak volumes about his devotion to Joplin and public service.”
Region VII Administrator Derrith Watchman-Moore added, “There is no way to adequately describe Matt’s contributions to the Joplin community. His leadership immediately following the tornado reveals the depth of his commitment and dedication to his neighbors.”
Soon after the tornado touched down in Joplin, Moran acted quickly and drove to public housing developments to locate residents, offering them assistance and directing them to safe temporary housing. He also located each one of his own employees to ensure they were all safe. The day after the storm, Moran and several public housing authority employees rallied to expedite the work of locating residents and provide temporary housing and rebuilding. Within days, he placed 11 vacant units back into service, a critical move when so many families faced the prospect of becoming homeless. Within two days, he worked to place insurance adjusters on the scene to assess the damage to public housing units and to formulate a plan and schedule for rebuilding.
The tornado destroyed 103 public housing units in Joplin, leaving 99 residents with no home of their own. In addition, the storm severely damaged the privately owned homes of 85 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) recipients.