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January 2009 Region III News

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

John G. Bravacos, Regional Director
(215) 656-0600
January 2009


Regional Director's Note

Thank you. I have been honored and proud to have served with you for these last 18 months. We have had some interesting times; Foreclosure Crisis, FHASecure, HERA, Credit Collapse and an historic Presidential Election.�We have had some accomplishments; reduction in homelessness, increase in homelessness funding, Neighborhood Stabilization Program rollout, ribbon cuttings and ground breakings across the Region, and many others as well.

Today, January 20th, I am enjoying my last day with HUD. As an Appointee, my term ends with the end of the Bush Administration. I leave HUD proud of the people there with whom I have worked.They are tireless and genuine in their efforts to serve our Region. While my next step is not certain, I am confident that you will continue to serve those among us that most need help.Thank you for the work you do every day and for the commitment and enthusiasm you bring to that important work.Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to work with you.

John Bravacos

Going Green

Seniors at Nellie Reynolds Gardens, a 64 apartment building for seniors in North Philadelphia, are providing the model for how to go �green�.�The building has a 20,000 square foot �green� roof with natural vegetation that absorbs rainwater and prevents it from running off the roof.The green roof also retains heat during the winter and has a cooling effect in the summer, reducing energy usage by about 15%. The building also includes �Green Label� carpet (for better indoor air quality), environmentally friendly paints and primers, and Energy Star appliances and fixtures.

The seniors had a chance to showcase their new apartments and all of the green features of the complex at a ribbon cutting ceremony held in the building's indoor �garden� under a large glass atrium.HUD Secretary Steve Preston helped cut the ribbon on the building named after long-time public housing resident leader Nellie Reynolds.�The newly built development was constructed through a combination of HUD funding and private investment.

[Photo 1: Ribbon cutting ceremony at Nellie Reynolds Gardens]
Ribbon cutting ceremony at Nellie Reynolds Gardens.

100 Units Strong in Madison Heights, Virginia

The Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NNRHA) is celebrating the 100th unit of homeownership built in Madison Heights. In 1993, NNRHA implemented HomeBuilder.�This program used HUD HOME funds to assist in revitalizing a neighborhood comprised of many sub-standard houses.�Ms. Phyllis Ivey is the 100th homeowner of those homes built by the Newport News Housing Authority.�

NNRHA uses HOME and Community Development Block Grant funds to purchase lots, make infrastructure improvements and provide deferred second mortgages.�The HOME subsidy requires a long-term commitment to the property which provides stability in the neighborhood. Of the 101 homes developed, eighty-one have been purchased by families with incomes less than 80% of average median income, with most homeowners' incomes ranging from 35 - 79% of the average median income.Some homeowners in Madison Heights are above the 80% limit producing a mixed-income neighborhood.

Funds from the state's housing finance agency, HUD, Virginia Housing Development Authority's SPARC program, City of Newport News general fund, the state housing agency, Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD), Virginia Single Family Regional Loan Fund that provides reduced interest rate mortgages to first-time homebuyers for HomeBuilder customers, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta made this development possible.

Saving Energy

It's all about saving energy for the Wilmington Housing Authority as the new year begins. The recently announced partnership between Honeywell and the Wilmington Housing Authority will net $6 million in energy improvement and water usage reductions that will be paid for by projected energy cost and water usage savings of $560,000 a year for the next 12 years.The improvements to approximately 2,000 units will include more efficient boilers, thermal frame windows, showerheads, toilets and outdoor lighting and caulking.�The work is scheduled for completion by the end of 2009. To facilitate reduced energy and water usage, Honeywell will conduct training programs to teach tenants about energy and water-savings practices. If the actual savings fall short of the projections, Honeywell will cut a check to the Housing Authority for the difference.�Any savings that exceed the cost of the energy efficiency and water usage improvements will be available to cover other capital improvement expenses. Since energy cost savings are expected to be about 25 percent, the approximately 50 percent of residents who pay their own utility bills will also benefit financially from this initiative.

Preserving America

Tredyffrin Township in Pennsylvania is now a Preserve America Community.�Regional Director John Bravacos presented the certificate of designation to Township officials at the historic Strafford Train Station.The township and the Tredyffrin Historical Trust are working together to preserve and promote the local heritage.

[Photo 2: Tredyffrin Township is now a Preserve America Community]
Tredyffrin Township is now a Preserve America Community.

The Lewes Historical Society is making plans to use a Preserve America Grant to promote tourism in Lewes during the winter months. Located at the mouth of the Delaware Bay, Lewes has a rich maritime history. The award of a $35,000 Preserve America Grant will assist an Off-Season Maritime Tourism Plan that will include audio tours, brochures and radio broadcasts. The Preserve America program recognizes and designates communities that protect and celebrate their heritage, use their historic assets for economic development and community revitalization, and encourage people to experience local historic resources through education and heritage tourism programs.First Lady Laura Bush is the Honorary Chair of Preserve America.

[Photo 3: Lewes Historical Society celebrating their Preserve America Grant]
Lewes Historical Society celebrating their Preserve America Grant.

In the News

HUD approves $59.6 million in Neighborhood Stabilization plans for Pennsylvania communities hard-hit by foreclosure - Funding aimed at neighborhoods facing potential abandonment and blight

Bush Administration announces more than $650 million to help very low-income elderly and people with disabilities

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Content Archived: February 3, 2011

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