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Opening Doors for More Americans

Leading Communities into the New Century

The Department of Housing and Urban Development's fiscal year 2000 budget, as requested by President Clinton, seeks $28 billion for HUD's programs. It is a $2.5 billion increase over the FY 1999 budget.

Two years ago, HUD's number one priority was to close the competence gap. HUD was an agency slated for elimination, a poster child for failing government bureaucracy. Secretary Andrew Cuomo and HUD employees knew the agency had to change. To regain trust and move forward, the agency whose name begins with "Housing" had to get its own house in order. Simply put, the American people always believed HUD's mission was right; HUD had to show them that its means were right.

The Department has done just that -- by getting back to the basics. HUD cracked down on those who misuse taxpayers dollars, fighting to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse. HUD renewed its commitment to first-class customer service through innovative initiatives like community storefronts and user friendly information kiosks. Secretary Cuomo's historic management reform (HUD 2020) has fundamentally redesigned the Agency for a new century - HUD is now a model for reinvention.

The Agency changed, and people took notice. Last year, the Clinton Administration and Congress acknowledged the strides HUD made by funding a budget that allowed them to begin the vital work of "Closing the Opportunity Gap" in America - a gap most noticeable in housing, jobs, and education. Additionally, Congress passed historic public housing reforms put forth by the Clinton Administration.

The FY 1999 budget was HUD's strongest budget in a decade. This year's budget is even stronger.

This budget again recognizes a renewed HUD -- President Clinton is requesting $28 billion for HUD programs, $2.5 billion more than what was appropriated last year. The FY 2000 budget acknowledges a new confidence - the funding for virtually every major HUD program is increased. And this budget offers opportunity and security for those who are often left behind - including 100,000 new vouchers for citizens in our most distressed communities, the elderly, and the homeless. In short, HUD closed the competence gap; HUD has worked hard to close the opportunity gap; now, HUD will begin "Opening Doors for More Americans." Today, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is poised to help lead communities into the new century.

Taken as a whole, this budget addresses five major challenges our communities will face in the 21st century:

CHALLENGE # 1

ENSURING COMMUNITIES ARE ECONOMICALLY COMPETITIVE
In this rapidly changing global economy, HUD's economic development mission becomes more important than ever. That's why this budget, includes a community empowerment fund to help businesses create jobs where they are needed most. It increases the amount of vouchers helping more, hard working people to move from welfare-to-work. And it enhances programs with a proven track record - programs that give communities all across this country much needed resources and flexibility, like Empowerment Zones and Community Development Block Grants.

Highlights include:

  • Empowerment Zones ($150 million). The Administration will submit legislation to authorize $100 million over 10 years in flexible funds for each of the 15 newly designated urban Empowerment Zones. FY 2000 funding also includes $3 million grants to each of 15 the newly named Strategic Planning Communities.

  • Community Empowerment Fund ($125 million). This will combine grants and loan guarantees to create 100,000 needed jobs in distressed urban areas, emphasizing Administration-wide policy priorities, including Welfare-to-Work targeted job creation and city-suburb business connections that help central-city firms to "piggyback" regional prosperity. It will also enable the creation of the first truly private secondary market for economic development loans -- a genuine legacy for this President.

  • The America's Private Investment Companies, or APIC ($37 million). This initiative, highlighted in the State of the Union, is key to creating more jobs and will leverage $1.5 billion in private equity investment for distressed urban and rural areas.

  • Community Development Block Grant ($4.775 billion). Contributing to vital community infrastructure, housing, and economic development, CDBG -- the most flexible federal aid to cities and enormously popular with mayors -- is up $25 million to $4.775 Billion for FY 2000.

  • Youthbuild and the President's Youth Initiative ($75 million). The President is requesting a significant increase in the highly successful Youthbuild program of $75 million. In 1999 alone, the HUD-administered Youthbuild program will serve between 5,000 and 6,000 disadvantaged youth. To fulfill HUD's responsibilities within the broader Youth Initiative, the Youthbuild program will be increased from $43 million in 1999, to $75 million in 2000. Drug Diversion Program ($100 million). HUD is also refocusing and targeting $100 million in Drug Elimination Grants Program (total request $310 million) to reduce youth crime and youth dependency on drugs. The youth-oriented Drug Diversion Program is a Government-wide effort that will steer America's most vulnerable residents -- its youth -- away from drugs and into long-term employment and self sufficiency.

CHALLENGE # 2

MAKING HOUSING AFFORDABLE
The record economic expansion has brought homeownership to an all-time high. But still, too many Americans, especially low and moderate income families, are being left out. That's why this budget increases HUD's commitment to its core mission: providing "a decent, safe, and sanitary home and suitable living environment for every American." And it also redoubles the effort to assist some of our most vulnerable citizens: the homeless, the disabled, people with AIDS/HIV, and those Native Americans living on reservations in poverty. Last year's increase in the FHA loan limits will greatly further this effort.

Highlights include:

  • The HOME Program for Affordable Housing ($1.610 billion). This successful, efficient housing rehabilitation and production initiative is key to increasing the availability of decent safe and affordable housing in both urban and rural America. The program helps increase the stock of affordable standard rental housing; it improved substandard housing of existing owner; and it assists new home buyers through acquisition construction and rehabilitation of housing.

    In fiscal year 2000, the HOME program funding is requested at $1,610 million, an increase of $10 million over the 1999 enacted level. This program open doors by providing 84,400 additional units of decent, safe and affordable housing for both owners and renters.

  • 100,000 new vouchers to meet worst case housing needs. Building on the momentum of last year's victory -- the first new vouchers in years and the boldest reform of public housing in decades - this budget proposes 100,000 new vouchers to meet the needs of the poorest renters. 42,000 will go to meet a variety of worst case housing needs; 25,000 will expand the pool of critical Welfare-to-Work vouchers; 18,000 will be for homeless persons, to ensure the availability of permanent housing solutions at the end of the Continuum of Care; and 15,000 will be targeted to elderly persons.

  • Citizens Volunteer Housing Corps ($5 million). The President is also proposing a initiative to mobilize a corps of citizens to help reclaim and to rebuild abandoned and dilapidated housing in cities across the country. Supported by a $5 million set-aside in CDBG, the Corps will tap into the spirit of civic pride and expand the stock of affordable housing. Working through mayors, community groups and especially faith-based groups, HUD will bring together a group of housing rehab experts in up to 80 cities to train local teams to do housing reconstruction. Building materials will be provided by the National Partners in Homeownership -- the leading organization in the President's successful home ownership coalition.

  • The Continuum of Care for the nation's homeless persons ($1.12 billion). The President's Continuum of Care is a major policy innovation that works, leveraging many times the investment of Federal resources. For FY 2000, it has been increased by $150 million. The increase in homeless assistance, plus 18,000 new vouchers to create permanent housing solutions, will address the housing needs of the most vulnerable Americans -- those making a transition from the streets back into homes and community life.

CHALLENGE # 3

MOVING CLOSER TO ONE AMERICA
Expanding housing opportunities for all is an essential part of building One America. The fact is that although it may not always be as overt as it has been in the past, there is still discrimination in America, especially in housing. That's why this budget significantly increases HUD's Fair Housing programs - programs that at their heart say there will never be One America until there is the opportunity of equal access for all.

Highlights include:

  • One America: Fighting housing discrimination ($47 million). Even at the end of the 20th century, housing discrimination, in both blatant and subtle forms, continues to plague this home we call America. Last year, President Clinton announced his commitment to doubling the number of fair housing enforcement actions by the year 2000. To help complete this effort, HUD will increase the Fair Housing Enforcement budget by 18 percent -- to a total of $47 million.

CHALLENGE # 4

FINDING REGIONAL SOLUTIONS AND CREATING SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES
Never before has the growth and more importantly, the health and vibrancy, of our cities and suburbs, our small towns and rural areas, been so dependent on one another. That is why this budget invests in programs like Regional Connections and the resources to redevelop Abandoned Buildings and Brownfields.

Highlights include:

  • Regional Connections ($50 million). As part of a broader Livability Agenda recently announced by the Vice President, HUD is proposing $50 million in competitive grant funds that states, partnerships of local governments, businesses, non profits, and community groups can use to develop smarter growth strategies across jurisdictional lines. Examples include: compact development rules and incentives for new growth areas in neighboring jurisdictions; coordinated reinvestment in areas with established infrastructure; and regionwide job training, placement and access programs. Eligible activities will include planning, institution building and part of the costs of implementing inter-jurisdictional projects.

    This will enhance efforts by the Joint Center for Sustainable Communities run by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties.

  • Abandoned Buildings Initiative ($50 million). This new Presidential initiative will turn "Brown yards into Backyards" by addressing some of the primary sources of blight in our urban neighborhoods: abandoned apartment houses, single family homes, warehouses, and even office buildings. Through this initiative, HUD will provide $50 million in competitive grants to local Governments to support the demolition of blighted abandoned buildings as part of a comprehensive plan to redevelop properties for commercial or for residential use.

CHALLENGE # 5

THE "AGING OF AMERICA."
Just as we are committed as a nation to saving Social Security, we must also be committed to housing security for older Americans. Today, there are more elderly citizens than ever before, and thankfully, they are also living longer lives than ever before. We owe it this generation to do our part to make sure that their lives are happy, healthy and secure. That is why this budget includes an innovative and historic housing commitment - a Continuum of Care - for the elderly.

Highlights include:

  • A comprehensive housing security plan for the elderly ($747 million). To complement the long-term health care initiatives announced in the President's State of the Union Address, HUD's budget lays out a plan to meet the changing housing needs of our nation's elders and to provide security and peace of mind to coming generations of senior citizens.

    It will also create bridges across generations by adding Intergenerational Learning Centers in elderly housing. Priority budget items are $660 million for Section 202 Housing for the Elderly, including reforms to allow conversion of existing buildings where seniors need assisted living, and $87 million for 15,000 housing vouchers targeted to elderly persons.

Opening Doors to New Markets. Opening Doors to Affordable Housing. Opening Doors to One America. Opening Doors to a Better Quality of Life. Opening Doors to Life-long Security. These are the major challenges that we must confront if we are to lead our communities into the new century. In his State of the Union Address, President Clinton reminded us that "our greatest untapped markets are not overseas -- they are right here at home. And we should go after them." With this budget and because of President Clinton's bold vision for urban America, that is exactly what HUD will do.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009
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