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CUOMO SELECTS HOMEOWNERSHIP ZONE IN SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO ANNOUNCES $3.5 MILLION IN GRANTS TO SPARK $10.4 MILLION IN INVESTMENT
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today designated 300 acres near downtown San Juan as HUD's eleventh Homeownership Zone and awarded the City a $3.5 million grant. The action is expected to attract an additional $10.4 million in investment to transform the blighted inner city area into a thriving neighborhood of owner-occupied single-family homes.
HUD's investment will lead to the construction of 304 new homes. A total of 273 of the 304 homes will be reserved for low-income families. HUD funds will be used to buy land, make infrastructure improvements, and for housing construction to effectively cut costs for families buying homes. The plan also calls for a central neighborhood plaza and new parks.
In addition to the 304 homes that will be built, Apoyo Empresarial, a community housing development organization, will develop an additional 100 units which will be subsidized with Low Income Housing Tax Credits and provided to families with a 15 year lease purchase agreement.
In a telephone call today from Washington, Assistant Secretary for Community, Planning and Development, Saul Ramirez, announced the grant to Mayor Sila Maria Calderon.
"HUD's Homeownership Zone initiative is designed to turn back the clock on urban decay," Cuomo said. "It will help revitalize San Juan and other cities after decades of decline and help neighborhoods that prospered in years past to achieve a new prosperity in the years ahead."
The Homeownership Zone initiative is a successful partnership that combines the resources of government on all levels, homebuilders, non-profit groups and the business community, Cuomo said.
In addition to the City of San Juan, four organizations will work with the city to make the Cantera Peninsula Homeownership Zone a more desirable place to live. They are: Habitat for Humanity; Apoyo Empresarial; Fannie Mae; and San Juan Neighborhood Housing Services.
Mayor Sila Maria Calderon said: "With this historic designation as a Homeownership Zone, the residents of San Juan take a giant step towards transforming the Cantera Peninsula into a neighborhood of hope and opportunity. The new funds provided by HUD will allow us to reach a critical mass of new homes and new homeowners that will serve as the catalyst for the development of the Cantera Peninsula. On behalf of the residents of San Juan, I thank Secretary Cuomo for making homeownership a reality in the Cantera Peninsula."
The Zone is located near downtown San Juan. The area is bounded by Los Corozos Lagoon to the north, Martin Pena Canal to the south, Barbosa Avenue to the east, and Las Casas public housing project to the west. The Zone is concentrated in the center of the peninsula and is intended to form a center point for the community. The public housing adjacent to the zone is undergoing revitalization, and the City has begun working with the Army Corps of Engineers on environmental improvements and flood control along the canal.
HUD's Homeownership Zone initiative, begun last April, is designed to revitalize decaying urban areas by creating large new neighborhoods of owner-occupied, single-family homes. The new neighborhoods will attract new residents, new businesses and new jobs to inner cities.
Last year HUD designated Homeownership Zones in Baltimore, Buffalo, Cleveland, Louisville, Philadelphia and Sacramento. Cuomo recently designated new Zones in: Long Beach, CA; Trenton, NJ; Flint, MI; and Indianapolis, IN and will announce the final city in this years competition shortly. Cuomo will announce a Homeownership Zone in one more city in coming weeks. In all, 67 cities applied for designation as Homeownership Zones this year in a nationwide competition.
The Clinton Administration's 1999 proposed HUD budget asks for $25 million for Homeownership Zones, to create new Zones in five to seven cities next year.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009