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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 97-205
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-1420Friday
Or contact your local HUD officeOctober 10, 1997


WASHINGTON -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced the award of a total of $21.2 million to the Housing Authority of Houston "to continue the Clinton Administration's dramatic and unprecedented transformation of public housing." Secretary Cuomo sent the nation's top public housing official, Assistant Secretary Kevin Marchman, to Houston, TX to announce this grant with Mayor Robert Lanier and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

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 many battles that the residents of Allen Parkway Village, the Fourth ward and I have fought to insure their fair treatment and fulfill their housing needs may be coming to a peaceful and fruitful conclusion with the award of this grant," stated Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. "The people of Allen Parkway Village and Houston's historic Fourth Ward are not only most worthy recipients of this nationwide competition, but also are the survivors of the legislative and bureaucratic struggle for affordable housing in Houston where community-based redevelopment and ongoing scattered-site affordable housing is an imperative!"

"A long process has brought us to this day of celebration for the people of Houston and especially the Fourth Ward," Cuomo said. "I commend the people of Houston and want to particularly acknowledge the efforts put forth by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Without the Congresswoman's fine work during this process, today's announcement would not have occurred."

The $ 21.2 million HUD grant to the Housing Authority of the City of Houston will be used to complete the revitalization of the historic Fourth Ward. This grant completes the Department's FY 1994 obligation to fund revitalization of 1,000 public housing units, including historic preservation of some units in the surrounding community. The new community will include 400 new rental and homeownership units, and 250 families will have an opportunity to buy homes through a lease-to-own program.

Houston Mayor Robert Lanier stated, "The HOPE VI grant will enable the Housing Authority of the City of Houston to complete the replacement of Allen Parkway unit by providing affordable housing options ranging from multifamily rental to single family homeownership in a manner that also preserves the rich history of the Fourth Ward area."

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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