|HUD No. 11-33
May 27, 2011
HUD HONORS GRACE TOWERS IN MT. VERNON WITH PRESTIGIOUS AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING WORK IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Only 14 State and Local Model Programs Honored Across the Country
NEW YORK - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it is recognizing Grace Towers Housing in Mt. Vernon, as one of only 14 State and local governments in the country, with its coveted "Door Knocker Award" (www.hometa.info/index.cfm?do=viewDKAwards) for its outstanding work in producing affordable housing.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan recently announced the awards to 11 local communities and three state agencies for their exceptional use of funding provided through HUD's HOME Investment Partnerships Program. The announcement of the "Door Knocker Awards" coincides with the 20th anniversary of the HOME Program, the largest federal block grant program dedicated to producing affordable housing at the state and local level. Since 1992, HOME has produced more than one million units of affordable housing through the U.S.
"Whether it's saving a homeless veteran from a life on the streets or designing a transit-oriented, energy efficient development that revitalizes a blighted neighborhood, these governments prove that working together, we can make a real difference," Secretary Donovan said. "Producing affordable housing is hard work but these jurisdictions are building better communities and creating opportunities for people most in need."
Mayor Clinton I. Young, Jr. said "The City is honored to be recognized for this prestigious award along with the Grace CDC and Mountco Construction. The Grace Towers project provides affordable housing to our residents in a region with some of the highest housing cost in the nation."
HUD's HOME Program
The Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act created the HOME Program in 1992. HOME provides formula grants to States and localities that communities use-often in partnership with local nonprofit groups-to fund a wide range of activities that build, buy, and/or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent or homeownership or provide direct rental assistance to low-income people.
Each year, HUD allocates approximately $2 billion to more than 600 State and local participating jurisdictions to increase the stock of affordable housing and provide tenant-based rental assistance for low- and very low-income households. Since the program's inception, the HOME Program has completed more than one million units of affordable housing and provided more than 240,000 families with critically needed rental assistance. Each dollar of HOME funds leverages nearly $4 in other public and private investment and has leveraged more than $78 billion over the life of the program.
Each award-winning project demonstrates how the flexibility provided by the HOME program is used by State & local governments to meet the specific needs of low-income families and underserved populations in their areas. These projects and programs serve as models for other jurisdictions to replicate throughout the country in four categories of innovation -producing producing sustainable housing, promoting long-term affordability, reaching underserved populations and building CHDO (non-profit) capacity.
About Grace Towers Housing
Completed in 2010, Grace Towers Housing is a rental and commercial development that provides 133 units of affordable housing in the City's Third Street corridor, a revitalization area that had blighted and vacant buildings and a high crime rate. This project has proven to be a strong anchor in the neighborhood, reducing both blight and crime. Special units are being made available for families affected by domestic violence. Grace Community Development Corporation, which operates the SNUG Violence Prevention Program funded by the New York State Department of Justice and has experience working with youth and other community groups, provides counseling and other services for these families. The 40-year long-term affordability period is a result of creative financing and cooperation between the development team and the City. The City sponsored a PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) which will reduce taxes for a period of 37 years and thus enhance affordability. In striving to make a difference, more than 40 percent of the construction work was contracted to local minority- and women-owned businesses; these businesses were a focus during the hiring of professional services such as those of an architect and a lawyer. The building incorporated numerous energy-efficient features and is awaiting approval of its LEED application. Grace Towers will provide a solid foundation for the Third Street area's redevelopment, enhancing its attractiveness and use as a major transportation corridor. The area is now also home to a new police substation.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on Twitter at @HUDnews or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.