Brian Sullivan (202) 708-0685
Joel Manske (701) 239-5040
June 30, 2005
JACKSON HONORS GRAND FORKS WITH ROBERT L. WOODSON JR. AWARD FOR REDUCING REGULATORY BARRIERS TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING
North Dakota City among 14 communities described as national models for cutting red tape
WASHINGTON - The City of Grand Forks is among 14 local communities from around the nation being recognized
today by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson for reducing burdensome regulations that unnecessarily inflate the cost of homes otherwise affordable to working families. During an awards ceremony in Washington, Jackson said Grand Forks serves as a model for other communities looking to eliminate regulatory
barriers and encourage more affordable housing in the process.
"Grand Forks is answering the call and demonstrating that it can get the job done when it comes to cutting red
tape and encouraging the production of affordable housing," said Jackson. "I hope other communities around the country look to places like Grand Forks for creative ways to reduce regulatory barriers and to make it easier for working families to afford a home of their own."
Communities receiving the Robert L. Woodson Jr. Award are:
Fort Collins, Colo.
Grand Forks, N.D.
King County, Wash.
| Oxnard, Calif.
San Antonio, Texas
Santa Fe, N.M.
White Plains, N.Y.
In 1997, devastating floods destroyed more than 800 homes in Grand Forks. Since then, the city has undertaken
an aggressive rebuilding program focused on affordable housing. Local leaders recognized there is no single solution and created a "tool box" of incentives to stimulate the construction of affordable homes including an affordable housing "infill" program and the establishment of "affordable housing districts." In exchange for special concessions
on tax assessments and land standards, developers in these areas agree to build higher density, smaller entry-level homes. In the years prior to these efforts, only 14 affordable units were built in the entire city. Since 2002, of the 106 homes built in the affordable housing districts, over 57 percent meet affordable housing target prices.
The Robert L. Woodson Jr. Award
The Robert L. Woodson Jr. Award is named in memory of HUD's late chief of staff and is designed to recognize local governments who aggressively work to reduce regulatory barriers to affordable housing. Prior to coming to HUD and serving as the Department's Chief of Staff in 2002, Woodson served as Senior Policy Advisor on housing and community development issues for President Bush's campaign for president. He was a senior aide to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), Chief of Staff for Rep. Bob Inglis (South Carolina), and a budget analyst for the House Budget Committee.
Woodson worked to help low-income persons achieve economic self-sufficiency as a project director and spokesperson for the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, a national organization that helps community-
and faith-based groups reduce crime and violence, revitalize low-income neighborhoods and create economic enterprise. A graduate of the University of Delaware, Woodson received a B.A. in Sociology with a concentration
in urban studies.
Regulatory barriers to affordable housing are public regulatory requirements, payments or processes that
significantly impede the development and availability of affordable housing without providing a commensurate health and/or safety benefit. These barriers can impede housing rehabilitation, limit supply and raise the cost of new development by up to 35 percent. The result - millions of Americans are priced out of buying or renting the kind of housing they otherwise could afford.
In 2003, HUD made barrier reduction one of the Department's top priorities and created America's Affordable Community Initiative. HUD continues to review its own regulations to identify those that effectively discourage
the production of affordable housing. Meanwhile, HUD is aggressively working with state and local leaders to create more affordable housing-friendly environments around the country. Information about this important priority.
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.