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CUOMO CREATES NEW HUD CENTER TO FOSTER PARTNERSHIPS WITH COMMUNITY AND FAITH-BASED GROUPSWASHINGTON -- Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced the creation of a new Center for Community and Interfaith Partnerships to link HUD more closely with the nation's non-profits, community development corporations and faith-based groups.
Cuomo made the announcement during a keynote address at a luncheon of the Enterprise Foundation, an organization based in Columbia, MD that works with more than 700 local non-profits to create affordable housing nationwide.
"By joining forces with those organizations whose work brings them closest to the needs of the poor and powerless, we can do our part to spur a grass roots movement across the country to ensure that people and communities in need are better represented and better served," Cuomo said.
The Center will be headed by Rev. Joseph R. Hacala, S.J., who joined HUD in July as Special Assistant to the Secretary for Interfaith and Community Outreach. A Jesuit priest, Fr. Hacala has many years of experience working with community groups for social change. He was formerly the Executive Director of the Campaign for Human Development at the U.S. Catholic Conference.
Cuomo cited HUD's ongoing work with Enterprise and several other community development corporations such as Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), National Community Development Initiative (NCDI), and Habitat for Humanity as models of the kinds of partnerships the new Center will encourage.
The Center is an outgrowth of Cuomo's management reform plan that is designed to create a "new HUD" by restoring public trust in the agency and empowering the communities and people HUD serves. By working to integrate the special concerns of the poor and homeless into the overall goals and programs of the department, the Center will play a key role in fulfilling HUD's mission.
The Center will: develop improved communication with community-based groups in the implementation of their housing and community development programs, and promote an increased awareness of HUD programs and resources.
"Historically, interfaith and community-based groups have done an outstanding job providing leadership and resources in housing and urban development efforts around the country," said Fr. Hacala. "By reaching out, we will help build the determination, inspiration and hope needed to revitalize America's communities."
"The creation of this Center is a further indication of how much Secretary Cuomo understands about the importance of community-based development," said Bart Harvey, chairman and chief executive officer of the Enterprise Foundation. "From his own experience and background he has reaffirmed that reaching the most troubled inner city areas involves strong community participation, good public and private sector partners, along with well-directed federal funding."
Content Archived: January 20, 2009