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CUOMO OPENS NEW HUD STOREFRONT OFFICE TO SERVE AS NATIONAL MODEL FOR MORE RESPONSIVE GOVERNMENT
WASHINGTON � Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today opened the first HUD Storefront Office, a new type of consumer-oriented service center designed to become a national model for more responsive government.
The HUD Storefront Office � called HUD Next Door � is one of many changes the Department is making as part of the sweeping management reform plan called HUD 2020 that Cuomo launched in June 1997.
�We will be opening HUD Next Door offices around the nation as part of our effort to do a better job serving the American people,� Cuomo said. �These new consumer service centers will translate the lofty ideals of government reinvention into the down-to-earth reality of improved performance that can build better futures for America�s families and America�s communities.�
The Washington Storefront � located in an 8,000 square-foot street-level office at 801 N. Capitol St. � looks more like a state-of-the-art library than a government office. Computers for public use � called HUD Answer Machines � and staff experts are available to help individuals, community groups, businesses and local governments learn how to better utilize many HUD programs. The new office, which will serve Washington and nearby suburbs in Maryland and Virginia, can be reached at 202-523-4400.
�At HUD, the 21st Century has arrived ahead of schedule and we are surrounded by it right here in this building,� Cuomo said. �Here, we can see that we�re not just talking about reform � we�re making it happen, with new innovations that turn our hopes for a new, more responsive and effective HUD into reality.�
The Storefront offers assistance for a broad range of actions, including buying and building housing, getting home improvement loans, getting rental assistance, filing housing discrimination complaints, opening and expanding businesses, and revitalizing communities in other ways.
A 24-hour touch-screen computer in a sidewalk information kiosk outside the Storefront gives people round-the-clock access to information about HUD.
New computer mapping software � called Community 2020 � will be available at the Storefronts and all HUD offices nationwide. The software provides the latest project and funding information on all HUD programs in thousands of cities across the country. The software displays project location, purpose, number of people served, and dollar amount.
The Storefront Offices will take a new type of HUD employee � Community Builders � out of high-rise office buildings where they are cut off from the public. The Storefronts will be in easily accessible consumer-friendly service centers in downtown business districts, where people can walk in to get information about HUD programs and activities.
Community Builders based in the Storefront Offices will have laptop computers that will enable them to travel widely and log onto HUD�s computer network from any location � in effect creating temporary HUD offices anywhere they choose, making Department programs even more accessible to the public.
�We will, quite literally, turn HUD into a Department on the move � able to set up shop anywhere, any time to serve anyone who can benefit by our programs,� Cuomo said. �We will ensure that the American people get maximum return for their investment in this Department.�
New HUD Storefront Offices will be created around the country over the next few years. Albuquerque, NM; Buffalo, NY; Baltimore, MD; Sacramento, CA; and Grand Rapids, MI are scheduled to get Storefronts later this year. HUD plans to establish Storefronts in 1999 in Cincinnati, OH; Shreveport, LA; Reno, NV; Honolulu, HI; and Casper, WY. More offices will follow in later years.
HUD will not have a Storefront in all 81 cities where the Department has offices, but all offices will get improved consumer-friendly technology and will work to be more responsive to the public. HUD also plans to have some staffers spend some of their working time in local government offices around the country to make the Department�s services more accessible.
Today�s Storefront opening was also attended by: District of Columbia Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Congressman James Moran of Virginia, Montgomery County (MD) Executive Douglas Duncan, Prince George�s County (MD) Executive Wayne Curry, Washington Mayor Marion Barry and management expert David Osborne.
Osborne used the occasion to release a new report he prepared evaluating HUD 2020 management reforms � reforms that laid the groundwork for the opening of the Storefront and many other changes at HUD.
Osborne�s new report says: �Already, less than one year from the publication of its reform plan, HUD is making marked progress in reforming itself � in fact, quite impressive progress for an agency so long discredited and troubled. If HUD continues to listen to employees, involve them in the reform process, and engage them to the point where they continue to take personal ownership in HUD 2020, there's no telling how much HUD can accomplish. This could be one of the great reinvention stories of our time.� (See separate release on Osborne report).
The public will be encouraged to view the HUD Storefront Offices as places to hold community meetings, view satellite training presentations, and log onto HUD�s Internet Homepage. School groups will be invited to the offices to learn how government programs can benefit people in their neighborhoods.
The internationally renowned San Francisco firm of Gensler � the world�s largest architectural, planning and design firm � worked in partnership with HUD to develop the innovative interior design of the Storefronts.
The Washington Storefront brings together innovative space design, technology, and customer service in a way that breaks with staid federal government traditions. Extensive use of glass, exposed beams and comfortable upholstered chairs add to the atmosphere that welcomes and encourages the public to visit.
Because rent for the Storefront space is lower than rent at HUD�s current local office in the CNN Building, HUD will save taxpayers about $104,000 a year in rent by shifting some employees to the Storefront.
HUD�s Storefront represents a successful partnership between HUD, the General Services Administration and the private sector. GSA identified office sites and negotiated the lease. HUD was able to use the services of Gensler to design the Storefront space through an existing space design contract the firm had with GSA.
The Washington storefront will initially be staffed by 14 HUD Community Builders and Public Trust Officers. The number will rise in September, when several Community Builder Fellows � skilled professionals from outside HUD serving two-to-four-year tours of duty with the Department � join the office.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009