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CUOMO CALLS ON FAITH-BASED AND COMMUNITY GROUPS TO FORM NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH HUD
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo has called on faith-based groups and non-profit community groups to join with HUD in "a new partnership to revitalize communities, create jobs, reduce homelessness, produce affordable housing and expand homeownership."
"Our new partnership has the potential to match the real strength of non-profit and faith-based groups with the needs of America," Cuomo said. "Today religious and community groups known for their success with homeless programs and elderly housing can expand their impact. They can create new affordable housing for families, new economic development, and neighborhood renewal that benefits entire communities."
"Today, HUD is taking an important step to deepen our cooperation with those who are closest to communities most in need and who have a history of success in empowering the poor," Cuomo said, speaking at a meeting held under the auspices of HUD's new Center for Community and Interfaith Partnerships.
"You are on the cutting edge of new collaborative partnerships between government and non-profits," Cuomo told representatives of the groups. "Solutions must come from your credibility, commitment and expertise. Solutions must come from the bottom-up - not the top down."
The meeting was attended by leaders representing 33 national organizations, including: the National Council of Churches, Congress of National Black Churches, National Neighborhood Coalition, National Urban League, Bread for the World, Catholic Charities USA, Council of Jewish Federations, and Center for Community Change.
The Center was created by Cuomo to serve as a direct link with the nation's faith-based groups, non-profits and community development corporations. The Center will work closely with HUD's program offices in relating to constituency groups.
Father Joseph R. Hacala, a Jesuit priest who is Director of the Center and a Special Assistant to the Secretary, said: "The mission of the Center is rooted in the important historical role of faith-based and community based groups in providing leadership in housing and urban development, and in providing determination, inspiration and hope in the revitalization of communities across the U.S."
One of the participants in the meeting, Rev. Floyd Flake, a former Congressman, said: "Secretary Cuomo and HUD took a significant step today in recognizing the centrality of community and faith-based groups to the empowerment of our cities and neighborhoods."
Cuomo said that HUD technical assistance -- along with the new Community Builder employees stationed in HUD offices nationwide -- will make HUD user-friendly for the local groups that can make a significant difference in empowering America's neighborhoods.
Cuomo said the President's 1999 budget proposal calls for the most aggressive HUD budget in ten years, with an increase of $1.8 billion in additional program funds.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009