HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 04-603RMI
Anne Scherrieb
(312) 353-6236 ext. 2666
For Release
June 3, 2004


CHICAGO - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded a $15,947,404 HOPE VI Revitalization grant to the Benton Harbor Housing Commission that will be used to replace aging public housing with new housing for 326 families.

In Benton Harbor, the grant for Whitfield I will replace 94 older public housing units with 94 public housing units. It
will also develop 74 other rental units and 158 homes for sale. The revitalization plan proposes the development of
66 units on-site and 260 single-family homes in surrounding neighborhoods, for a total of 326 units. The plan will incorporate traditional architectural and landscape features of the surrounding residential neighborhoods. The revitalized development will provide housing and programs that will foster self-sufficiency among residents with a range of incomes, including computer training and job readiness programs. Development will take place in partnership with Cornerstone Alliance, Star Development and Financial Corporation, and Harbor Habitat for Humanity. The
Housing Authority will contract with a private property manager and will enforce strict lease agreements.

"I was part of the Congressionally-appointed commission that created the HOPE VI program a little more than 10
years ago," said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. "I'm pleased that Benton Harbor is one of the 24 cities that will
get funding this year to revitalize this community and improve the lives of its residents."

Benton Harbor was selected from a pool of 56 applications HUD received from public housing authorities (PHAs) for
the 2003 funding. This is the first HOPE VI Revitalization grant for the Benton Harbor Housing Commission.

These PHAs were competitively selected with an emphasis on the effectiveness and project readiness of their public housing revitalization plans. HUD policy provides local housing authorities the flexibility to develop revitalization plans that meet their local needs. A team of HUD public housing and revitalization specialists score applications based on several revitalization rating factors, including:

  • Capacity: The ability of the housing authority or developer to administer and manage completion
    of the revitalization effort.
  • Need for Revitalization: The severity of physical distress of the development.
  • Match/Leveraging: The ability of the housing authority to supplement the HOPE VI grant with funding
    from other sources - private, state or local government.

As part of today's award, HUD will pay relocation costs for residents being displaced by this revitalization effort. Relocated residents who meet program requirements will be given the opportunity to move back to the newly constructed units at the site. Alternatively, if residents choose not to return to public housing, they will be given Section 8 vouchers to subsidize their rents in privately owned housing. In addition, relocated residents receiving vouchers will be provided with the same job training and services offered to people living in the revitalized development.

Including this round of grants, HUD has awarded 217 Revitalization grants to 118 cities that total $5.5 billion. With
$5 billion already awarded and $2.3 billion, but not yet spent, HOPE VI funding will continue to impact communities well into the future.

The HOPE VI program, also known as the Urban Revitalization Demonstration, was created in 1992 as a result of a report by the National Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing, which found approximately 86,000 public housing units in the U.S. needed revitalization. The first HOPE VI Revitalization grants were awarded in 1993.

To date, approximately 112,000 aging public housing units have already been demolished. Of that number, HOPE VI Revitalization grants are responsible for demolishing 65,000 of those units. HOPE VI Revitalization funding will also demolish an additional 17,000 units. Over all, there are 145,300 aging public housing units that have been or are slated for demolition using HOPE VI funding and other HUD programs.

When the first HOPE VI grants were awarded 10 years ago, it was the only significant means of leveraging private capital to revitalize public housing properties. Today new financial tools are available to public housing authorities.
For example, HUD has approved bond and loan transactions that have leveraged approximately $1.5 billion in the
last two years. By using HUD's Capital Fund Financing program, PHAs borrow large amounts of cash to do major
capital improvements or construct new units. They pay the debt using a portion of their annual Capital Fund
allocation from HUD.

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


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