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CUOMO ANNOUNCES $34.7 MILLION GRANT TO ATLANTA TO TRANSFORM PUBLIC HOUSING AND HELP RESIDENTS GET JOBS
ATLANTA - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today presented Atlanta with a $34.7 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 Atlanta at a news conference with Congressman John Lewis and other officials. Cuomo said the grant to Atlanta will be used to revitalize the Carver Homes public housing development. The funds will help create 865 new housing units at the site and demolish 990 deteriorated units of public housing.
In addition, the grant to Atlanta will help 639 families living at Carver 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 Atlanta, the new units being built will be made up of 399 units of rental public housing, and 359 units of privately-owned low-income rental housing financed with the help of the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
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.
HUD will also help public housing residents who get jobs in Atlanta to buy 107 new public housing units. Nationally, about 1,200 public housing units will be made available for homeownership by public housing residents.
Atlanta previously received a HOPE VI grant from HUD for $42.6 million for Techwood/Clark Howell in 1993, a $400,000 planning grant for Perry Homes/Carver in 1995, $20 million for Perry Homes/Carver in 1996, and $9.7 million demolition grant for Carver Homes in 1996.
Housing authorities receiving the 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 Atlanta, HUD earlier this week announced HOPE VI grants to: Lexington, KY for $19.3 million; Chicago for $35 million; 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 Atlanta 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 Max Cleland: "The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's investment in improving public housing in Atlanta will help spur the economic development of the Metro Atlanta area, assist residents in training and higher education programs, and help make the dream of financial independence a reality for many families and residents. This is a key element in the effort to better the lives of Atlanta's residents and revitalize our cities throughout the State of Georgia. Today's announcement represents HUD's ongoing commitment to and investment in the communities and the families of the Atlanta area."
Congressman John Lewis: "This award will truly make a difference in public housing communities that need help the most. Today, HUD is helping revitalize our most severely distressed public housing, and working to ensure that families, the elderly and others have access to decent, safe and affordable shelter. Secretary Cuomo is to be commended for his dedication to improving the quality of public housing in Atlanta and nationwide."
Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell: "The people of Atlanta join me in thanking Secretary Cuomo for awarding HOPE VI funding to the Atlanta Housing Authority. The funding will enable us to achieve our goal of providing safe, affordable and decent housing for all Atlantans."
Content Archived: January 20, 2009