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In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685
Or contact your local HUD officeJuly 26, 1996


The first National Urban Policy Report to reflect the policies of the Clinton Administration, Empowerment: A New Covenant with America's Cities, was presented today to President Clinton by HUD Secretary Henry G. Cisneros.

"This report presents an approach to the problems and opportunities of our nation's cities that is dramatically different than that taken by any previous Administration, Democratic or Republican," Cisneros said in his letter to the President.

"Today, many of America's cities are in trouble," the HUD Secretary added, "and our challenge is to embrace change by offering people and communities the opportunities they need to benefit from new sources of prosperity."

    The National Urban Policy Report explains that the Clinton Administration's urban agenda is grounded in four basic principles:

    It links families to work: It rewards work by bringing together tax, welfare, education, job training, transportation and housing policies that help families make the transition to self-sufficiency and independence; It leverages private investment in America's cities; It works with the market and private businesses to build on the natural assets of urban communities, through key program efforts such as Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities, the Economic Development Initiative, Small Business and Economic Development Administrations, and through unique proposals to support workers and businesses in distressed communities by reformulating the Federal contracting system; It is locally driven: It promotes solutions that are locally crafted, not "made in Washington, D.C.," and encourages the growing network of community-based organizations, entrepreneurial public entities and private groups to implement solutions. It affirms traditional values: It recognizes that family, hard work and self-reliance--and not government alone--must be a part of the solution to problems of many inner-city problems such as teen pregnancy, drug abuse and the break-down of the family.

"The polarization of urban communities--isolating the poor from the well-off, the unemployed from those who work, and minorities from whites--frays the fabric of our civic culture and acts as a drag on our national economy," the HUD Secretary said. "Your Administration's National Urban Policy is about building communities that work for people and for America."

Cisneros went on to criticize Congressional actions including budget resolutions and appropriations bills that he said would draw jobs, private investment and income out of inner cities. He cited the reduction, by half, of HUD's economic development loan guarantee authority, which helped create or retain as many as 125,000 jobs in 1995.

He also said that Congress was targeting the deepest cuts to programs that serve urban communities and low-income families. There are $100 billion in 'unspecified' savings from means-tested entitlement programs, including the Earned Income Tax Credit, Aid to Families With Dependent Children, Supplemental Security Income, Food Stamps, child care, and child nutrition programs, he added.

Finally, Cisneros said that "the President's National Urban Policy is based on a sensible deficit reduction plan. It maintains the critical focus of the Community Opportunity Agenda on linking poor people and poor communities to work.

"Our National Urban Policy rejects extreme plans to eliminate the deficit at the cost of incalculable damage to cities, the nation's social safety net," Cisneros maintained. (Copies of the Clinton Administration's National Urban Policy are available from HUD USER: 1-800-245-2691 [metro Washington 251-5154] A limited number are available for news organizations from HUD Public Affairs.).


Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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