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October 2006 Region III News

News and information from HUD's Regional Office serving Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia

Guy L. Ciarrocchi, Regional Director
(215) 656-0600
October 2006

From the desk of the Regional Director
Rising energy costs and increasing concerns about our nation's energy needs are in the news nearly every evening. It's time for all of us to consider the energy we use and take practical steps to cut back our unnecessary use of energy. This month has been designated as National Energy Awareness Month. On October 4th, HUD and the EPA kicked off the Energy Star Change a Light, Change the World Campaign. It's an opportunity to take steps, right now, to preserve energy resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. You can read my editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer 9http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/editorial/15812301.htm).

-GUY

A small, but bright idea...
[Photo 1: Compact fluorescent light bulbs] Small steps can lead to huge consequences. Just consider the light bulb. Did you know that if you make the simple switch from an incandescent to fluorescent bulb you'll reduce lighting costs by up to 66 percent? Imagine the billions of dollars we'd save and how much farther along the road to energy independence we'd be if every American family made that switch. This simple, energy-saving switch is why during October HUD, EPA, and the Department of Energy are sponsoring Change a Light, Change the World events all across the country. Every switch is a small, but important step to energy independence. Find out more and take a pledge to Change a Light, Change the World.

Easton gets $20 million to replace aged public housing
[Photo 2:  Secretary Alphonso Jackson, Senator Rick Santorum and Mayor Phil Mitman]HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson awarded the Easton Housing Authority a $20 million HOPE VI grant to replace aged public housing at Delaware Terrace with new housing. Senator Rick Santorum and Congressman Charles Dent joined Jackson to make the grant award at the Boys and Girls Club at Delaware Terrace earlier this month.

Easton is one of four public housing authorities to receive the HOPE VI funding. After four applications for the monies, the housing authority welcomed the announcement. The grant will be used to replace the 250 public housing units at Delaware Terrace with 12 renovated public housing units and 43 subsidized units and create a new mixed-income community. Read more about the Easton Housing Authority's success.

Job well done!
What do a residential energy summit in Delaware, a job development program for immigrants in Maryland, a downtown rebuilding project in Pennsylvania, a tax preparation assistance program in Virginia and an academic achievement award program in West Virginia have in common? First, each is an innovative way to provide a service. Second, each was conceived and implemented by a housing authority. And, third, all of them were among the agencies in our region to be recognized by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials in their 2006 Award of Merit (http://www.nahro.org/awards/AwardofMeritWinners.cfm) in Housing and Community Development.

New Funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Morgan State University in Baltimore, Howard University in Washington, D.C. and Norfolk State University in Virginia were among 13 institutions of higher education to win a total of $10.4 million in grants under HUD's Historically Black Colleges & Universities ("HBCU") program. The grants, explained HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, enable the institutions to help "revitalize the communities that surround them. Throughout the nation, we have seen HBCUs breathe life into struggling and blighted college communities." Since 1991, HUD has awarded more than $59 million under the HBCU program which can be used by the institutions in communities around their campuses for acquiring real estate; demolition; and, special economic development activities.

Breaking Down Barriers to Affordable Housing in Mount Joy, PA
[Photo 3: Two new homes] By amending or waiving more than 52 requirements, this community helped a private developer create 75 affordable housing units in this new market-rate development between Harrisburg and Lancaster, PA.

The affordable housing problems experienced in Mount are very similar to those experienced by many other suburban communities. Zoning restrictions and building specifications prompted a dramatic rise in land and home prices, prohibiting builders from making profits on affordable housing. Recognizing the problem in 2004, municipal officers held a public workshop bringing residents and the development community to the table. The workshop was very successful and participants developed a consensus on a comprehensive development plan for Mount Joy permitting greater density on the available sites, without community objections.

Less is More...
The Charleston and Kanawha County housing authorities have found a way to do more with less. The two authorities- which provide affordable housing to more than 4,400 West Virginia families- announced in August that they would merge. "You don't need two buildings, you don't need two lawyers, you don't need two copy machines and you don't need two accountants," explained Kent Carper, President of the Kanawha County Commissioners. The consolidation is expected to save overhead costs and enable the metropolitan area to compete more effectively for funds and, ultimately, expand the supply of affordable housing.

"Dream come true" [Photo 4: Group photo]
Thanks in part to $500,000 in HUD Community Development Block Grant funds, picking up a quart
of milk and a loaf of bread will no longer be a mission impossible for residents of Wilkinsburg, PA, a city of about 20,000, 15 miles east of Pittsburgh. For the past eight years, getting a supermarket has been the number one priority of the citizen group Economic Development Group East (EDGE). They've finally gotten their wish. Recently, staff from HUD's Pittsburgh office, Wilkinsburg Mayor John Thompson and Pennsylvania Banking Commissioner Bill Schenck gathered at a parking lot in downtown to break ground for a brand new Save-A-Lot grocery store. "Dream come true, isn't it," added long-time resident and EDGE member Alfred Karl. "It was a long time coming."

Lead Grant Deadline Extended
October 31st is the deadline for local governments to apply for $39 million in grants under HUD's 2006 Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Program that was re-opened in mid-September. Jurisdictions that have previously won 2006 or 2005 Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration, Operation Lead Elimination Action Program or Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Program grants are ineligible to apply. To be eligible, applicant jurisdictions must have at least 3,500 units of pre-1940 rental housing, though jurisdictions with lesser amounts may participate as a sub-grantee of an eligible applicant. The September 15th Federal Register identifies jurisdictions meeting these thresholds. Unless a waiver is approved, all applications must be submitted electronically via www.grants.gov

In The News

SAVE THESE DATES

More than 850 expected to attend 2006 Governor's Housing Conference (http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/ADMIN/GHC2006/GHC06.html) in Norfolk, Virginia from November 29th to December 1st. . . Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia to host three workshops on Community Development Financing in Rural Pennsylvania (http://www.phil.frb.org/cca/conferences.html) in Harrisburg on October 26th, in Beaver Falls on November 14th and in Dubois on November 16th. . . Philadelphia's Energy Coordinating Agency hosts The Green Building Boom: Energy Efficient, Healthy and Sustainable Homes and Communities on November 2... Mid-Atlantic Affordable Housing Management Association holds annual convention in Richmond from November 8th and 9th. . .Virginia Mortgage Lenders Association convenes annual meeting November 12th and 13th in Virginia Beach... The Pennsylvania Housing Alliance's Homes within Reach Conference on November 28th and 29th in Harrisburg, PA.

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