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HUD No. 98-503
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Tuesday
Or contact your local HUD officeOctober 20, 1998


Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded $1,093,477 in grants to fight drug abuse and other crimes in public housing in East Chicago, Gary, and Hammond, Indiana.

Cuomo made the announcement in a satellite TV news conference with Congressman Pete Visclosky, who represents the three cities, along with Gary Mayor Scott King.

The grants will be distributed to housing authorities in these amounts:

  • East Chicago………….$250,000
  • Gary…………..………..$663,777
  • Hammond……..………$179,700

"These grants are good news for some of the poorest families in East Chicago, Gary, and Hammond and bad news for drug dealers who terrorize them," Cuomo said. "We will fight drug abuse with prevention and treatment programs and with a crackdown on drug dealers and other criminals. We are telling drug dealers in HUD housing to find another line of work or be sent to another type of subsidized housing - a prison cell."

Congressman Visclosky said: "This grant is a continuation of our efforts to fight crime in Northwest Indiana. Over the last few years we have made tremendous strides in the fight against crime through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, through Operation Crackdown demolishing crack houses, through 104 new police officers on the street and through securing bulletproof vests for all of our officers. Now, thanks to HUD, we'll be able to take another step by fighting the drug trade in public housing and improving the quality of life for the residents in these neighborhoods."

Cuomo said the recent Congressional approval of the Department's $24.5 billion budget for the 1999 fiscal year, which he called "the best HUD budget in 10 years," will speed the transformation of public and assisted housing.

"HUD is transforming public housing from isolated ghettos of poverty, drugs, despair and crime into safe and economically integrated communities of opportunity," Cuomo said.

Nationwide, HUD is awarding $305.2 million in Drug Elimination Grants this year - more than in any previous year.

Vice President Al Gore, Cuomo and Attorney General Janet Reno announced a four-part enforcement and prevention strategy to fight crime and drugs in public housing in June 1997. The grants announced today are one element of that strategy.

The Drug Elimination Grants are awarded on a competitive basis, based on the seriousness of the drug and crime problem facing a housing authority or assisted housing development, and the strength of local plans to address the problem. About 900 housing authorities, 60 Indian tribes and 500 privately owned housing developments applied for the grants being awarded this year.

HUD has awarded more than $1.6 billion in Drug Elimination Grants since 1989, including the grants being awarded this year.

In public housing, the Drug Elimination Grants are used for: drug prevention, intervention and treatment programs; reimbursing law enforcement agencies for providing additional security; hiring security guards and investigators; resident anti-crime patrols; and physical improvements to housing developments to enhance security - such as fencing, lighting and improved locks.

HUD's budget for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1 increases funding for HUD's key programs and renewals of Section 8 rental assistance by a total of more than $2 billion in the budget over 1998 levels. Spending was increased on most HUD programs and wasn't cut in any programs.

Legislation passed in the same bill as HUD's budget will:

  • Transform public housing by reducing segregation by race and income, encouraging and rewarding work, bringing more working families into public housing, and increasing the availability of subsidized housing for very poor families. In addition, the bill improves living conditions in public housing, gives the poorest families neighbors who will be role models of working families, and reduces crime. The bill also allows HUD to continue to tear down the largest failed public housing projects and replace them with new townhouse-style developments.

  • Expand the supply of affordable housing by enabling 90,000 more families to get Section 8 rental assistance vouchers that will subsidize their rents in privately owned apartments - the first increase in vouchers in four years.

  • Increase homeownership by raising the limit on home mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration from the current range of $86,317 in low-cost housing areas to $170,362 in high-cost areas. The bill increases the loan limits to a range of $109,032 in low-cost areas to $197,621 in high-cost areas. The higher ceiling on FHA-insured home mortgages opens the door of homeownership to thousands of families needing FHA insurance to get mortgages, but locked out now because the current loan limits have not kept pace with rising home prices.


East Chicago

  • $250,000 in Drug Elimination Grants will go to the East Chicago Housing Authority for programs to eliminate crime and drugs.


  • $633,777 in Drug Elimination Grants will go to the Gary Housing Authority for a comprehensive security and prevention program to attack drugs and crime.


  • $179,700 in Drug Elimination Grants will go to the Hammond Housing Authority for a comprehensive program involving other local agencies and residents in protecting and strengthening their neighborhood.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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