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VICE PRESIDENT GORE, HUD SECRETARY CUOMO PUSH COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT FUND
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today praised new business partnerships announced by Vice President Gore to boost low-income communities, and he said the Administration's proposed Community Empowerment Fund can play a major role in sparking further private investment in economically distressed areas.
"The Community Empowerment Fund is a powerful financing tool for building private enterprise and stemming the loss of good-paying jobs in America's low-income urban and rural communities," Cuomo said. "Although America's economy is booming, there are millions of people being left behind in the wake of this nation's success. As we works to link more businesses to areas in need, the CEF can spur our efforts to rebuild livelihoods and neighborhoods."
The President's 1999 budget proposes a $400 million Community Empowerment Fund - an increase from $38 million in 1998 -- which would be used to provide loans and grants for economic development. The outflow of jobs, lack of business incentives and decline of public sector funds in distressed communities has created an enormous need for innovative solutions provided through CEF.
"In our new economy, one of the best opportunities for new business investment is in our distressed communities," said Vice President Gore. "By working in partnership with the private sector through the CEF, we can make our communities and our nation stronger and more competitive."
Cuomo urged Congress to approve the $400 million CEF as a smart investment that will generate substantial commitments from the private sector and foster long-term stability for communities in desperate need of economic opportunities.
"We expect the CEF to leverage an estimated $2 billion in private sector loans and create or retain as many as 280,000 jobs," Cuomo said. "By approving the President's budget request, Congress has a great opportunity to create exciting success stories in hundreds of communities across the country.
There are scores of examples of successful business partnerships using CEF's powerful financing tools. Projects that have been supported through the CEF's financing in the past include Good Hope Marketplace in Washington D.C's Anacostia neighborhood, which includes a full-service 55,000 square foot Safeway Food and Drug Store, the first new supermarket east of the Potomac River in 20 years.
As part of the Administration's ongoing effort to revitalize depressed areas, Vice President Gore today announced commitments to invest in low-income communities by several private sector companies, including Pfizer, Rite Aid, Pathmark, BankBoston, Blimpie International and Prudential Insurance.
The Vice President today also launched the first in a series of "White House Business and Entrepreneurial Roundtables on Community Empowerment" with corporate leaders. The second Roundtable, scheduled for Fall 1998, will showcase participants in Business LINC - which stands for Learning, Initiative, Networking and Collaboration - an initiative unveiled today to coordinate federal-private partnerships.
HUD will lead the third White House Business and Entrepreneurial Roundtable on Community Empowerment, scheduled for early 1999, which will focus on the importance of community-based capital access and economic growth.
HUD Secretary Cuomo said he looks forward to more businesses becoming involved in federal, state and local partnerships to build stronger, healthier communities and a more connected, competitive nation.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009