March 14, 2006
HUD AWARDS FUNDING FOR LOWELL YOUTHBUILD PROGRAM
Program has helped hundreds of Lowell-area at-risk youth get a new start
Today, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Director Taylor Caswell joined Congressman Marty Meehan to present a $700,000 grant to Community Teamworks, Incorporated (CTI) to fund a YouthBuild program in Lowell.
The YouthBuild program provides young people who have struggled and who have not stayed in school the opportunity to receive their GED while learning life skills and a useful trade. The participants alternate between classroom training and working at a construction site to produce or renovate homes for low-income households or homeless families.
The grant is part of $58 million in funding being awarded by HUD nationwide, and $4.2 million awarded in Massachusetts, to help thousands of low-income young people who never finished high school return to school to earn their diplomas, while training them for a future in the construction trades. YouthBuild grants enable enrollees to take the first step toward self-sufficiency by providing job training and leadership skills to an estimated 4,300 young people ages 16-24 in a nationwide network of more than 200 programs.
With this funding, CTI will partner with the City of Lowell, the Lowell Housing Authority, Common Ground
Development Corporation, and Workforce Investment Board to train 65 youth while constructing two new rental
"The YouthBuild program serves a population that needs a bridge between youth and adulthood," said Caswell.
"It is a win-win since the participants learn marketable skills while producing affordable homes in their own
Since 1999, 215 Lowell-area teens have participated in CTI's YouthBuild program. In addition to classroom work,
the participants have completed new construction of one duplex on Suffolk Street in Lowell; performed gut rehab
on three units on Lakeview Avenue in Lowell; assisted with substantial rehab of a nine-family affordable housing property on Broadway Street in Lowell; and assisted with substantial rehab of CTI's new homeless family shelter
on Merrimack Street in Lowell.
The announcement was held at a house that is currently being converted into three affordable condo units that will be sold to a low-income homebuyer. The City of Lowell allocated HUD HOME funds to help with construction costs. HOME funds are the federal government's largest block grant designed exclusively to assist local governments with
the production of affordable housing.
CTI's YouthBuild program is a 10-month cycle where the students alternate between one week in the classroom
and one week at the construction site. Recruitment is made through the Lowell School Department, the Lowell Housing Authority and through social service agencies. In addition to receiving classroom training to obtain GEDs
and learning marketable skills, the students also learn leadership and life skills training, and have access to career counselors upon graduation from the program.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as
well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.