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CUOMO ANNOUNCES $35 MILLION GRANT TO CHICAGO TO TRANSFORM PUBLIC HOUSING AND HELP RESIDENTS GET JOBS
CHICAGO - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today presented Chicago with a $35 million grant as part of a nationwide program that is replacing decaying public housing with new housing and helping residents get education, training and jobs to become self-sufficient.
"This program is about much more than rebuilding housing," Cuomo said. "It's about giving public housing residents the chance to rebuild their lives. We're creating a new vision for public housing. We will replace slums that trapped families in poverty and dependence with attractive new communities that will be gateways to jobs, opportunity and self-sufficiency."
Cuomo made the announcement of the grant to Chicago at a news conference with Mayor Richard M. Daley and other officials.
Cuomo said the grant to Chicago will be used to revitalize the Abbott, Addams, and Brooks Extension buildings of the ABLA Homes public housing development, one of the oldest and largest public housing developments in the country. The funds will help create 2,800 new housing units at the site and demolish 2,776 deteriorated units of public housing.
In addition, the grant to Chicago will help 1,506 families living at ABLA Homes get jobs and become self-sufficient by providing them with job training, education, child care, transportation and counseling services. Nationally, HUD funds will be used to help about 10,000 families get jobs and become self-sufficient.
HUD is awarding a total of $507 million in highly competitive grants to 22 cities under the public housing transformation program known as HOPE VI, Cuomo said, and is replacing more occupied units of low-income housing in the 22 cities than are being demolished.
The 22 cities will demolish about 7,000 units of severely distressed public housing that are occupied, and another 3,400 units that are vacant because of their extremely poor condition. Rehabilitating the substandard units would cost more than tearing them down.
The 7,000 occupied and 3,400 vacant units of public housing being demolished in the 22 cities will be replaced by about 12,100 units of housing - including about 6,800 units of new public housing, 3,300 units of new privately owned low-income rental housing, and about 2,000 units that will be sold for homeownership.
In Chicago, the new units being built will be made up of 1,052 units of low-rise public housing, 328 units of privately-owned low-income housing financed with the help of the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, 202 market-rate rentals, 252 affordable units for homeownership, and 966 units of market-rate housing for homeownership. One of the goals of the HUD assistance is to create new mixed-income neighborhoods where public housing residents live alongside residents of unsubsidized housing.
Housing authorities receiving the new round of $507 million in HUD grants plan to use $108 million of the assistance to hire public housing residents to work on the revitalization of their own developments. These jobs will provide paychecks and teach valuable job skills to public housing residents.
On top of this, housing authorities will use HUD funds to make loans and provide other assistance to public housing residents to help them start small businesses - such as lawn care, catering and cleaning services - that are expected to create another 400 jobs for public housing residents.
HUD and housing authorities will also partner with schools near public housing to help children from public housing families do better in school to prepare them for self-sufficiency as adults.
In addition to the grant to Chicago, HUD today also announced HOPE VI grants to Lexington, KY for $19.3 million and Dallas for $34.9 million. Earlier this week, HUD announced grants to: Tulsa for $28.6 million, Milwaukee for $34.2 million, Los Angeles for $23 million, Denver for $25.7 million, and Oakland, CA for $12.7 million.
HUD's investment of $507 million in public housing transformation grants this year is expected to help generate a record $1.15 billion in additional investment in housing and jobs programs at public housing developments - including $854.1 million in private funds and $300.2 million in other government funds.
This year, every dollar HUD is investing in public housing transformation is generating a record high average of $2.28 in other investment - far more than the 31 cents in other investment the transformation program generated when it began in 1993.
HUD will pay temporary relocation costs for residents whose apartments are being demolished. Relocated residents of a development will be given the first opportunity to move back to the newly constructed units at the site, or will be given rental assistance vouchers that will subsidize their rents in privately owned apartments if they choose not to return to public housing.
In addition, relocated residents receiving rental assistance vouchers will be given the same job training and other services that will be offered to people living in the replacement public housing, to help them get jobs and become self-sufficient.
All new units being built will conform to guidelines of HUD's Healthy Homes Initiative, which will ensure that homes incorporate safeguards to protect residents against hazards such as lead poisoning, fire, carbon monoxide and radon.
The 22 cities receiving grants were selected in a competition involving 101 cities that submitted applications requesting a total of $1.95 billion in grants. Cities were selected based on a checklist of criteria measuring the effectiveness of their public housing revitalization plans.
Under the Clinton Administration, HUD is carrying out the most dramatic transformation of public housing since the public housing program was created in 1937 by President Franklin Roosevelt, Cuomo said.
HUD has approved the construction of 33,000 units of new public housing since 1993 and has demolished about 28,000 units of the worst public housing in the nation under HOPE VI. Residents of demolished housing have moved into new public housing or received rental assistance vouchers under the Section 8 program to subsidize their rents in privately owned apartments.
HUD's assistance to Chicago will be tailored to carry out plans developed locally. Each of the 22 local communities receiving grants developed its own revitalization program under a HUD policy that gives them great flexibility to come up with plans to meet their own special needs.
The HOPE VI program has five key objectives:
There are about 1.2 million units of public housing around the nation, where about 2.8 million people live. The median annual income of households in public housing is $6,939. A total of 46 percent of households are made up of families with children, another 30 percent house senior citizens, and 11 percent are home to people with disabilities.
Senator Carol Moseley-Braun: "I applaud HUD's decision to award this well-deserved grant to the Chicago Housing Authority for the redevelopment of ABLA Homes. I have worked for the past two years with CHA, the City of Chicago and HUD to secure this funding for housing and economic opportunity for the residents of the ABLA Homes and working families throughout Chicago. The $35 million award is an important part of a public/private partnership that will invest in this community."
Mayor Richard M. Daley: "The City's receipt of a HOPE VI grant means more than just money, more than just bricks and mortar. It means providing residents with a critical tool to rebuild their lives and their community."
Congressman Danny K. Davis: "This HOPE VI grant in the amount of $35 million to the Chicago Housing Authority is further evidence of President Clinton's commitment to revitalizing public housing in Chicago. This is a great day for Chicago and indeed a great for the ABLA Community."
Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez: "It is vital that more Chicagoans be provided an opportunity not only to live in improved housing but also to improve their educational and job-related skills. I am hopeful that this grant helps us meet those goals."
Congressman Rod Blagojevich: "I'd like to commend Secretary Cuomo and Joe Shuldiner for putting together a grant package for the Chicago Housing Authority that will help revitalize the ABLA Homes."
Content Archived: January 20, 2009