HUD Deputy Secretary Ronald Sims Visits Birmingham

[Photo 1: HUD Deputy Secretary, Ronald Sims and Birmingham Field Office staff]
HUD Deputy Secretary, Ronald Sims, (second from left in front row) joined Birmingham Field Office staff in celebrating the success of a Westry family (forefront and right) whose first home purchase was made possible by Habitat for Humanity through the use of HUD NSP funds.

HUD Deputy Secretary, Ronald Sims recently visited the City of Birmingham to get an update on implementation of programs funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). His stopover included a visit with Birmingham Mayor William Bell, a tour of the YWCA of Central Alabama's downtown facility, YWoodlawn Revitalization effort, a site visit to a public housing community in Bessemer that is being revitalized with HUD ARRA funding, as well as the celebration with the Habitat Family pictured above.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Birmingham has received a total of $6,065,302 in Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funding. To date they have 36 properties that have been purchased or are under contract using NSP; 10 properties for which rehabilitation is complete, with homeowners living in them; 9 homes currently under rehabilitation; and 8 with participants scheduled to close on their rehabilitated homes. Officials with Habitat for Humanity project that the ARRA funds committed to the effort will generate in excess of 300 full time construction jobs over the life of the project.

Throughout his visit Sims proved to be an engaging speaker, but an even better listener. He asked questions throughout the day, and often took notes during the responses. He told one audience to think of him as their colleague, not as the Deputy Secretary, and it was a sentiment that rang as sincere. He seemed particularly impressed with the YWoodlawn initiative, at one point expressing that the project was one that he could be proud to say happened on his watch.

[Photo 2: Photo of Suzanne Durham discussing the YWoodlawn initiative with Deputy Secretary Sims.]
Suzanne Durham, CEO, of YWCA of Central Alabama discusses the YWoodlawn initiative with Deputy Secretary Sims. Sims toured the target community for the YWCA revitalization effort and both asked questions and offered insights as to potential ways to enhance the effort.

The YWoodlawn Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative includes an overnight homeless shelter, transitional housing, as well as long term housing. HUD has over $5 million invested in this revitalization including funding to acquire and rehabilitate 64 units of affordable housing. HUD's funding included $320,000 of Community Development Block Grant funding as well as $4,728,432 in HOME funding. Birmingham Field Office Director, Cindy Yarbrough says of the initiative, "We are so proud of this project. The YWCA of Central Alabama committed to a meaningful revitalization of this community, and while their work is not complete, they have made such positive impacts already and we look forward to more from them."

Deputy Secretary Sims ended his Birmingham visit with a brief tour of a public housing redevelopment effort in Bessemer, Alabama, where a 200 unit conventional public housing community is undergoing renovation, with $3,000,000 in ARRA resources as the source of funding. It was an inspirational day for all who participated, including the Deputy Secretary who noted that he had enjoyed one of his best days at HUD.

For more information about HUD implementation of the Recovery Act, visit us at


Content Archived: December 20, 2013