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CLINTON ADMINISTRATION AWARDS $28 MILLION IN GRANTS FOR PUBLIC HOUSING TO BUFFALO AND $498.3 MILLION NATIONWIDEWASHINGTON -- Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced the award of a total of $28 million to the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority "to continue the Clinton Administration's dramatic and unprecedented transformation of public housing."
Nationwide, Cuomo said HUD is awarding $498.3 million in grants this month to housing authorities in 27 cities under the HOPE VI program.
In announcing the first group of grants last week, Vice President Al Gore said: "We are transforming the worst public housing developments in America into outposts of opportunity that will help poor families build better lives and help revitalize America's cities."
Cuomo said the vast majority of the 3,400 public housing authorities around the nation do a good job providing safe and affordable housing to low-income families. However, some older public housing developments have deteriorated over the years, becoming magnets for crime and roadblocks to efforts to revitalize the surrounding area.
"We are creating a new concept of public housing for the new century," Cuomo said. "Besides removing blighted public housing from the urban landscape, we will breathe new life into cities by building safe neighborhoods that will attract more businesses, more jobs and more residents."
In addition, HUD is using the HOPE VI grants to help make welfare reform succeed, Cuomo said.
"Besides providing families in need with improved housing, we will help them move from welfare to work so they can climb out of poverty under their own power," Cuomo said.
The $28 million HUD grant to the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority will be used to revitalize Lakeview Homes by building 520 new rental and homeownership units at the site and other nearby locations. One hundred existing units at Lakeview will be rehabilitated and reconfigured. The grant also pays for the demolition of 544 obsolete public housing units at Lakeview.
"This grant will not only provide a much-needed, long-term supply of affordable housing, it will help revitalize an entire community," said Senator Alfonse D'Amato. "By removing obsolete housing and building safe communities, can help attract new businesses and jobs, and create economic growth in our cities."
The new development at Lakeview will feature 200 units of senior housing in buildings with elevators. The revitalized Lakeview will provide housing and programs to encourage self-sufficiency among residents. Some of the replacement units will be "in-fill" homes in the surrounding community that complement existing single-family homes and multifamily buildings.
"We are pleased and gratified that the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority will receive substantial aid from the HOPE VI program to change the face of housing in the Lakeview Housing community as we continue the work of building a better Buffalo," Mayor Masiello said.
It is refreshing to have a government that both hears and heeds local housing authorities as they struggle to provide decent housing for all our citizens," Masiello added.
"The plan is tailored to improve the entire neighborhood appearance while serving the needs of diverse segments of the population," said Congressman John LaFalce. "The architectural scheme will provide seniors, families and individuals of varying incomes with a desirable place to live and will foster a sense of community pride."
Around the nation, 6,284 units of public housing will be built or modernized across the country with the new HOPE VI grants, creating successful residential communities that will help revitalize surrounding neighborhoods, Cuomo said.
In addition, 7,772 substandard public housing apartments will be demolished with the grants.
HUD's assistance will be tailored to carry out plans developed by local communities as part of President Clinton's overall urban policy.
Nationwide, the HOPE VI funding will pay for:
HUD has demolished about 30,000 units of the worst public housing and will demolish another 70,000 (for a total of 100,000) by the end of the year 2000 to change the physical landscape of public housing.
Despite these demolitions, the supply of affordable housing will increase under the Clinton Administration's transformation.
About 40,000 of the 100,000 public housing units being demolished are in such bad shape that they are vacant. As a result, only about 60,000 occupied apartments are being demolished. These apartments will be replaced by about 40,000 new units of public housing and by 61,000 rental vouchers that will allow poor families to rent housing in the private market.
As a result, the number of affordable housing opportunities supported by HUD will increase by about 40,000. Public housing residents displaced by demolitions are given the opportunity to receive vouchers or to move into new public housing.
It would cost more to rehabilitate the 100,000 worst units than it will to carry out plans to replace them with new public housing and vouchers.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009