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CUOMO CALLS FOR HUD PARTNERSHIP WITH NATIONAL HISPANIC HOUSING COUNCIL
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo has called on the National Hispanic Housing Council to join HUD in "a new partnership to revitalize communities, create jobs, reduce homelessness, produce affordable housing and expand homeownership."
Cuomo met with the group recently at HUD headquarters to discuss the Department's efforts that address the housing needs of the Hispanic community.
The meeting was attended by leaders representing national organizations including: the Housing Assistance Council, National Council of La Raza, Center for Community Change, La Fuerza Unida de Glen Cove, Latino Economic Development Corporation, National Hispanic Housing Coalition, National Puerto Rican Coalition, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion, Banana Kelly, National Hispanic Housing Council on Aging, and Crescendo, Inc.
Cuomo said HUD is working more closely than ever with groups like the National Hispanic Housing Council to improve housing and spark economic development in America's communities.
"HUD is taking important steps to expand our cooperation with those who are working closest to communities most in need," Cuomo said.
Moises Loza , President of the National Hispanic Housing Council, attended the meeting and said: "I was very gratified that the Secretary of HUD took the time to address the Board of Directors of the NHHC and made time to respond to our questions. Mr. Cuomo also committed to work with the Hispanic community in general and the NHHC in particular. Mr. Cuomo's words of encouragement and commitment portend a long and productive relationship between HUD and the NHHC."
HUD Acting Deputy Secretary Saul Ramirez said the Department can play an important role in bringing about positive change in communities. "HUD is working to help low- and moderate-income individuals by creating economic opportunities and increasing homeownership," Ramirez said.
HUD technical assistance - along with the new Community Builders employees stationed in HUD offices nationwide - will make HUD more responsive to groups that can make a significant difference in empowering America's neighborhoods, Cuomo said.
In addition, Cuomo said HUD is intensifying its efforts to end housing discrimination against Latinos and others and to reduce the "homeownership gap" that divides whites and minorities.
HUD began a stepped-up campaign against housing discrimination in September at President Clinton's direction, as part of the President's One America Initiative. Cuomo pledged to double the number of enforcement actions HUD takes against violations of the Fair Housing Act by the year 2000.
This past fiscal year, as a result of HUD's crackdown, HUD obtained $9.6 million in relief for individuals in housing discrimination settlements - compared with $4.4 million the year before.
President Clinton's proposed 1999 federal budget seeks $22 million in increased funding for HUD to intensify the fight against housing discrimination. The 73 percent increase for HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity would boost spending by the office to $52 million. It is the largest single budget increase in civil rights law enforcement in two decades.
Cuomo recently announced two record-high settlements of lending discrimination cases involving Hispanics and African Americans - one dealing with an agreement by AccuBanc Mortgage Corporation to target $2.1 billion in mortgages to minorities and low- and moderate-income families, and a similar agreement involving $1.4 billion in targeted mortgages by three other lenders. National Council of LaRaza President Raul Yzaguirre joined Cuomo at a news conference announcing the AccuBanc settlement.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009