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When floods, tornadoes, or other natural disasters force Americans to flee their home, HUD’s dedicated employees are among the first to the scene to help affected families find shelter.

Tony Landecker, a Portfolio Manager in HUD’s Minneapolis-St. Paul field office, is responsible for assisting with the management of the local housing stock. Last year, however, Tony’s focus turned to Baton Rouge when the area experienced historic flooding. Tony left his city and family to spend months helping those who had been forced from their home.

In Baton Rouge, Tony was assigned to the Celtic Shelter, where he led a team tasked with finding permanent housing for 130 families that were placed in a temporary shelter – which was scheduled to close in one week.  This didn’t deter Tony and his team. Together with Red Cross volunteers, FEMA volunteers, other HUD employees, members of the Louisiana Housing Corporation, and Catholic Charities, Tony and his team identified vacant housing units by calling hundreds of apartment complexes, property management companies and individual landlords. Once they found the units, the team made rental assistance available, expedited the housing inspection process, and even helped the families move. As a group, before the temporary shelter closed, they found permanent housing solutions for every family.

“My experience working in disaster recovery has  affected me in profound ways,” Tony said. “The opportunity to help is incredibly gratifying. I will always remember the survivors we were able to assist, and the hope and promise our HUD team was able to provide.”

For going above and beyond the call of duty in a difficult situation, Tony was named the Minnesota Civil Servant of the Year by the Federal Executive Board.

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In honor of “American Heroes Week,” HUD recognizes Tony for being a real-life hero and for helping others find the comfort of a home in the aftermath of a disaster.