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Aylin Gonen (202)708-0685 ext. 119Wednesday,
Bill Connelly (202)708-0685 ext. 115January 31, 1996

"Time to Develop a New Vision for Communities"

WASHINGTON-U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Henry G. Cisneros today released a report detailing plans for HUD's continued reinvention and sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging a common ground effort on urban policy in 1996.

"I believe the coming year offers a rare opportunity to seek common legislative ground by infusing common-sense American values into HUD's programs," said Cisneros.

"HUD has made tremendous progress in our reinvention efforts, working closely with Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle," said Cisneros. "It is my hope that we can use the policy and program changes outlined here as the basis for further bi- partisan legislation that will see a renewal of our core values in America's urban policy: demanding personal responsibility, rewarding hard-work, promoting self-sufficiency, harnessing the free market and expanding individual opportunity.

"What these changes would mean is that our working principle would not be to maintain individuals, families or communities in perpetual dependence, but to create a framework of supports, incentives and rules so people can help themselves and lift themselves beyond governmental assistance," said Cisneros. The report has four core elements:

Give Power To Communities. We are changing the way HUD works to put communities -- not Washington -- first, so that all federal resources will help build safe, strong and hopeful communities from the ground up, with local priorities and needs leading the way, by:

  • consolidating over 20 duplicative and unnecessary programs into three funds
  • providing flexibility to communities
  • rewarding the best local performance
  • planting the seeds to grow private sector jobs and business in distressed communities
Transform All Federal Housing Assistance. We are dramatically reinventing all federally assisted housing to ensure decent, affordable housing for all who need it and to make certain that it is a temporary step on the road to economic self-sufficiency, by:
  • demolishing the worst public housing and replacing it with livable apartments
  • changing the incentives so people are encouraged to work
  • cracking down hard on gangs and drug dealers
  • evicting irresponsible tenants, suing corrupt owners and seizing mismanaged PHAs
  • expanding the supply of affordable housing
Ensure All Americans the Opportunity of Homeownership. We are pursuing a sustained, national effort to ensure the opportunity of homeownership for all Americans who want it, by:
  • setting a goal of reaching the highest homeownership rate in U.S. history
  • bringing down barriers to homeownership by lowering downpayments and closing costs
  • shortening the time it takes to serve our customers
  • protecting every American against rental and ownership discrimination
  • giving public housing and Section 8 residents the chance to buy a home
  • creating Homeownership zones in inner cities
Create a Community First, Right-Side Up Cabinet. We are proposing to transform HUD into a cabinet department that literally inverts the organizational chart by:
  • moving staff out of Washington and into communities
  • establishing local HUD Service Centers to stay in touch with communities
  • retraining HUD personnel to meet 21st century community challenges
  • using technology to create a virtual, paperless HUD


Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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