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September 20, 2000

Dear Executive Director:

           I am writing to let you know that "BuyBack America," HUD’s Gun Buyback and Violence Reduction Initiative, is alive and well, and that public housing agencies (PHAs) still have the opportunity to participate. A more complete description of this initiative is available.

           PHAs may still request to program a portion of any available Public Housing Drug Elimination Program (PHDEP) funds to help take unwanted guns off the streets of public housing communities. Through the gun buyback, individuals may turn in firearms to local police departments working in conjunction with PHAs. These guns are usually exchanged for cash, vouchers or gift certificates. (HUD suggests an exchange value of $50 per firearm.)

           Matching funds from HUD are available to PHAs at the rate of $43 for every $100 in PHDEP funds that PHAs commit to BuyBack America, as long as those funds remain.

           As some of you know, a few Members of Congress inquired about BuyBack America and HUD’s use of PHDEP funds for the buyback. Those concerns have been fully addressed. Gun buybacks remain an eligible part of PHDEP. In fact, President Clinton has called on HUD to proceed with the initiative to remove unwanted guns and reduce violence in our communities. I encourage your agency to consider this important violence-reduction tool. In the first few months of the buyback, nearly 20,000 firearms have been removed from America’s streets and homes. I invite you to help that number increase by participating in BuyBack America.

           The attached document outlines basic steps you need take in order to join the BuyBack America team. As you will see, the requirements are quite simple, so your buyback could take place within a few weeks of your request being submitted to HUD, if you so wish.

           In a related matter, HUD has signed an agreement with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to assist housing agencies with organizing successful gun buybacks. SCLC has worked to organize successful gun buybacks since 1993, and will provide technical assistance to help a limited number of PHAs enhance their gun buyback efforts at no charge. First-time and repeat gun buyback participants should indicate their interest for TA when they submit their requests to participate in the Buyback America.

           Thank you for your attention. I look forward to hearing from you.


Harold Lucas
Assistant Secretary

Content Archived: April 15, 2011

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