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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 97-283
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-1420Thursday
Or contact your local HUD officeDecember 4, 1997


MIAMI -- Secretary Andrew Cuomo and top aides relocated U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development headquarters to Miami-Dade County, FL for a day today "to strengthen HUD's successful partnership with Miami-Dade" and to announce $1 million in new grants to public housing authorities in four cities and other new initiatives.

The other initiatives include: assistance to help the Metro-Dade Housing Authority develop new programs; new computer centers in HUD-assisted housing; a conference on homelessness to be held in Miami; steps to reduce housing discrimination; and new participants in an anti-crime program to help police become homeowners.

Cuomo joined Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas, Miami Beach Mayor Neisen Kasdin and Senator Bob Graham at events in Miami and Miami Beach.

"Miami-Dade County is a dynamic area, the crossroads of the Americas, with a bright future," Cuomo said. "I've brought the top leadership of HUD here because we want to work with Miami-Dade to bring a new prosperity to this area and all its people. To succeed, we have to understand Miami-Dade and its needs, and the best way to do that is to walk through the area's neighborhoods, see the challenges it faces, and talk with its people and leaders."

Here are details of the actions by Cuomo in Miami-Dade:


Cuomo announced $1 million in grants to four public housing authorities in Florida to help public housing residents move from welfare to work and to help elderly and disabled residents of public housing continue independent living.

The grants under the Economic Development and Supportive Services program will go to: the Metro-Dade Housing Authority -- $300,000; the Jacksonville Housing Authority -- $500,000; the Key West Housing Authority -- $145,250; and the Lake Wales Public Housing Authority in Temple Terrace -- $60,000.

Nationwide, HUD is awarding $26 million in grants to 115 housing authorities this month under the program. Eighty percent of the funds under the program go to help public housing residents get jobs by funding activities such as: job training and placement services, childcare programs, transportation to jobs, education programs and loans and training to help residents start small businesses. Programs for senior citizens and people living with disabilities in public housing include: providing meals, housekeeping assistance, transportation services, adult day care and wellness programs.

Cuomo also announced that HUD will work with the Metro Dade Housing Authority to help the authority develop plans for new programs that could qualify for HUD assistance under the HOPE VI public housing revitalization program and the Drug Elimination grant program.


Cuomo said eight HUD-assisted affordable housing developments have agreed to develop Neighborhood Networks computer learning centers with assistance from HUD. The eight new centers will be located at: Stella Maris House, St. Dominic Gardens, and Marion Towers, all in Miami Beach; St. Mary Towers in Miami; the Archbishop McCarthy Residence in Opa Locka, Jones Walker Palm Gardens in Ft. Myers; St. Elizabeth Gardens in Pompano Beach; and St. Joseph Towers in Lauderdale Lakes. A total of 1,165 people live in the eight apartment developments. Cuomo also announced a commitment from Microsoft to provide computer software for all Neighborhood Network Centers in Florida.

Assistant Secretary for Housing/Federal Housing Commissioner Nicolas Retsinas attended a ribbon cutting of a new Neighborhood Networks site today at Covenant Gardens in Miami sponsored by the Urban League, and presented the new center with $20,000 in software donated by Microsoft.


Cuomo announced that a multi-city conference on homelessness will be held in Miami in the spring to discuss ways the private sector can help reduce homelessness. Cuomo said the conference will be held in Miami because Miami-Dade is "a national leader in the effort to reduce homelessness." Miami received a three-year $15 million grant from HUD in 1995 to create a model private-public partnership to deal with homelessness.


Cuomo announced that the South Florida HUD/National Association of Realtors Fair Housing Partnership and the Latin Builders Association will increase efforts to remove barriers to equal housing opportunity in the region. HUD recently awarded a $350,000 grant to the group HOPE, Inc., to investigate reports of illegal housing discrimination in Florida. In addition, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Eva Plaza presided over a community discussion on race issues in Miami today as part of President Clinton's One America Initiative on Race.


Cuomo announced that five Miami-Dade area police officers are buying homes through HUD's new anti-crime and community revitalization initiative called The Officer Next Door.

The one-year pilot program is designed to enable at least 1,000 law enforcement officers to buy homes from HUD at a 50 percent discount -- resulting in tens of thousands of dollars in savings on each home. HUD sells homes it has acquired through foreclosure.

"When police move into a community, criminals move out," Cuomo said. "This initiative promotes homeownership and makes officers part of the communities they serve, so they can work closely with their neighbors to strengthen their communities."

Cuomo said these officers have joined the program: Edward Santiago and Kerry V. Turner of the Village of Miami Shores Police Department; George Varon of the Miami Beach Police Department; Kanya J. Howard of the Metro Dade County Police Department; and Stacey O. Payne of the Village of El Portal Police Department.

Cuomo and other HUD officials began their day with an opening roundtable at the NFL Youth Education Town Center in Miami with elected officials and members of the community. The Secretary then held a news conference at the Mayfair Apartments in Miami Beach, a former hotel that is being remodeled with the help of HUD assistance to provide 42 affordable apartments to formerly homeless people. The day was scheduled to end with a closing roundtable discussion at Robert King High Tower Metro Senior Center in Miami.

The visit to Miami-Dade was the seventh in a series of such trips that Cuomo and the top leadership of HUD are making to communities around the country.

HUD officials traveling to Miami-Dade with Cuomo included: Assistant Secretary for Housing/Federal Housing Commissioner Nicolas Retsinas; Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development Saul Ramirez; Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Eva Plaza; Acting Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Kevin Marchman; Director of Special Actions Alvin Brown; Director for Community and Interfaith Partnerships Father Joseph Hacala; and Secretary's Representative Davey Gibson.

The HUD officials were joining Cuomo and elected officials at the two roundtable discussions at the beginning and end of the day. The HUD Team split up during the rest of the day, as the Cuomo aides visited housing, businesses, and other locations around Miami-Dade with their local counterparts.

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