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Alex Sachs (202) 708-0685 Ext. 111Friday,
Bill Connelly (202) 708-0685 Ext. 115October 4, 1996


Washington, D.C. -- Housing Secretary Henry G. Cisneros today announced $259 million in funding for a Clinton Administration initiative to fight crime and drugs in public housing in 650 American communities.

"These grants help to clean up drugs and crime in much of our nation's public housing," Cisneros said. "In the past, too many of our public housing developments became war zones, with gangs and drug dealers on the verge of gaining the upper hand. We're helping communities and law enforcement restore the safety and security that all American families deserve."

The funds awarded today will go toward more than 650 community-based anti-crime initiatives in public housing developments across the country. A total of 978 public housing authorities and Indian housing authorities applied for funds, 140 more applicants than last year.

Drug Elimination Grants offer communities a number of ways to tackle crime and drugs. The federal funds may be used to:

  • Put police officers on the beat implementing community policing in public housing developments;

  • Implement the President's One Strike policy through tougher tenant screening, eviction and lease enforcement procedures to help keep violent criminals out of public housing developments;

  • Assist residents fighting crime through citizen patrols and other community-based initiatives;

  • Provide young people positive alternatives to gang and drug involvement through educational and recreational opportunities;

  • Fund security improvements in public housing developments, including security lighting, fencing and the redesign of common areas where drug dealers and criminals may congregate.

Drug Elimination Grants are one component of HUD's comprehensive efforts to reduce crime and drug activity in public housing. Other key elements include the President's One Strike and You're Out tenant screening and eviction policy, and Operation Safe Home, HUD's collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Since 1994, Operation Safe Home has resulted in over 9,400 arrests, the confiscation of $18.4 million in illegal drugs, 1,300 guns, and $2.4 million in cash.

Successes at Reducing Crime

HUD's Drug Elimination Grants, awarded in collaboration with local law enforcement efforts, have had a measurable effect on reducing crime in public housing communities, Cisneros said. Among recent successes are:

  • Phoenix, AZ's public housing developments have had a 49 percent decline in drug arrests from 1994 to 1995 and a 29 percent decline in assault arrests from 1993 to 1995.

  • A 7 percent drop in violent crime from 1992-1993 to 1994- 1995 was recorded in Boston Housing Authority communities. From 1994 to 1995, drug-related incidents decreased by 39 percent.

  • Although Hudson County, NJ, has the second-highest number of drug-related arrests in the state, efforts of the Jersey City Housing Authority have had a measurable impact on drug activity within its developments. In 1995, only 5.4 percent of Jersey City's drug-related arrests occurred on housing authority sites.

  • The number of drug-related crimes in developments of the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority of Toledo, OH, has declined 25 percent since the authority implemented "One Strike and You're Out" screening provisions. Police department records show a more than 50 percent decrease in violent crime in housing authority developments since the housing authority began its Community Oriented Policing program.

Examples of How Drug Elimination Grants are Used

Successful local anti-drug programs that have been funded by this grant program include:

  • Philadelphia, PA -- Philadelphia's comprehensive program funds the housing authority police department, including domestic violence and Latino family support units. Self- sufficiency efforts include Family Investment Center programs making a GED program, computer and Internet training available.
    PHILADELPHIA'S GRANT FOR FY 1996: $4,884,500

  • Greensboro Housing Authority -- Greensboro, NC, has led the way in implementing eviction proceedings for residents participating in illegal drug activity. HUD drug elimination grants have funded law enforcement personnel critical to implementing Greensboro's long-standing screening and eviction programs.
    GREENSBORO'S GRANT FOR FY 1996: $608,750

  • Oakland Housing Authority -- Much of Oakland's drug elimination grant will go toward community-oriented policing efforts aimed at decreasing crime in two of the housing authority's largest developments -- Lockwood Gardens and Coliseum Gardens. The Housing Authority has also implemented an aggressive program to screen out potential problem tenants. In recent years, crime rates at the Housing Authority's scattered site properties have decreased, primarily due to the community policing efforts.
    OAKLAND'S GRANT FOR FY 1996: $824,961

  • Jacksonville Housing Authority -- The Housing Authority will contract with law enforcement and a security firm for anti- crime efforts and a drug treatment agency to provide outpatient counseling services at the city's public housing communities. Working with the Jacksonville Children's Commission, the authority will expand afterschool activities, drug prevention efforts and parenting education.
    JACKSONVILLE'S GRANT FOR FY 1996: $754,996

  • Denver Housing Authority -- Through the housing authority's on-site Project Storefront locations, the Denver Police Department has implemented community policing programs in cooperation with residents and community-based organizations. Employment and training programs are offered, as well as activities as an alternative to involvement with drugs, gangs and violence.
    DENVER'S GRANT FOR FY 1996: $937,500

    Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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