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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 97-201
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-1420Thursday
Or contact your local HUD officeOctober 9, 1997


WASHINGTON -- Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced the award of a total of $51.7 million to housing authorities in Richmond and Portsmouth, VA "to continue the Clinton Administration's dramatic and unprecedented transformation of public housing."

Richmond will receive $26.9 million, and Portsmouth will receive $24.8 million in grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Nationwide, Cuomo said HUD is awarding $498.3 million in grants this month to housing authorities in 27 cities under the HOPE VI program.

"HUD's HOPE VI grants are a step towards achieving my Administration's goal of helping people help themselves to improve their lives and their communities through hard work. By providing job training and improving the quality, management and safety of public housing we are giving hope to communities that have previously known despair," stated President Bill Clinton.

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.

"These Hope VI grants are the beginning of a new day for the Blackwell and Ida Barbour Communities," Senator Robb said. "The new housing units that these grants make possible will be the anchors of redevelopment for South Richmond and Portsmouth, and I was pleased to be able to help."

The $ 26.9 million HUD grant to the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority will be used to revitalize the Blackwell public housing development. The new community will include 469 units, 262 of which will be public housing, 103 funded by the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, and 104 market rate units. Off-site, 332 units will be built on the Old Manchester/Cowandin sities and on the Hull Street Flats. In all, over 800 units will replace the 440 existing scattered site units that will be demolished. The Work Force Enterprise program provides residents with opportunities for education, employment, entrepreneurship, and homeownership assistance.

Richmond Mayor Larry Chavis said, "I am excited and pleased that HUD has chosen Richmond as the site of one of its HOPE VI Grants. First, I must thank Senator Charles S. Robb, Congressman Robert C. Scott, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo, the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority and City Manager Robert C. Bobb for making this grant a reality. With this award, South Richmond can take a giant step toward reclaiming the vitality and spirit of this unique community. As the City Council representative for the district receiving this grant, I say to the people thank you for your prayers, your belief and your confidence in my vision. I fyou had not supported our studies and efforts, we would not be here today."

The 24.8 million HUD grant to the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority will be used to revitalize the Ida Barbour public housing development. The new community will include 264 rental and homeownership units, with 50 on-site units that are adjacent to the computer learning center.

Congressman Norman Sisisky said, "Portsmouth deserves a lot of credit for this. They put a lot of thought into how they could encourage home ownership and stimulate the local economy. I see this grant as a statement of confidence in Portsmouth's plans for the future."

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:

  • Making physical improvements to existing public housing.

  • Building new public housing.

  • Demolishing some of the nation's most deteriorated public housing.

  • Job training and employment programs to help public housing residents and other low-income people move from welfare to work.

  • Fighting crime and drugs in public housing through President Clinton's "One Strike and You're Out" policy, which is keeping criminals from moving into public housing and evicting those already there.

  • Improving the management of public housing.

  • Helping working public housing residents and other poor working families become homeowners.

Under the Clinton Administration, HUD is carrying out the most dramatic transformation of public housing since the housing was created six decades ago.

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.


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