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CUOMO ANNOUNCES $25.2 MILLION GRANT TO PHILADELPHIA AND $9.7 MILLION TO CHESTER TO TRANSFORM PUBLIC HOUSING AND HELP RESIDENTS GET JOBS
PHILADELPHIA - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today presented Philadelphia with a $25.2 million grant and Chester with a $9.7 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 grants to Philadelphia and Chester at a news conference with Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell, Congressman Chaka Fattah, Congressman Bob Brady, Chester Mayor Dominic Pileggi, and local housing leaders.
Cuomo said the grant to Philadelphia will be used to revitalize the Martin Luther King Plaza public housing development. The funds will help create 330 new housing units at the sites and demolish 537 deteriorated units of public housing.
In Chester, the grant will be used to revitalize the McCaffery Village public housing development, creating 174 new housing units and demolishing 350 units.
In addition, the grants to Philadelphia and Chester will help 272 families currently living at Martin Luther King Plaza and 110 new families that will live at the revitalized Martin Luther King Plaza, and 150 current families and 80 new families that will live at the revitalized McCaffery Village 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 Philadelphia, the new units being built will be made up of 85 units of rental public housing, 30 lease-purchase units, 93 units of privately-owned low-income housing financed with the help of the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, and 122 affordable units for homeownership. In Chester, the new units being built will be made up of 118 units of rental public housing and 56 lease-purchase units.
HUD will help public housing residents who get jobs in Philadelphia to buy 30 of the new public housing units and 80 of the affordable units. In Chester, public housing residents who get jobs will be helped to buy 56 of the new public housing units. Nationally, about 1,200 public housing units will be made available for homeownership by public housing residents.
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 grants to Philadelphia and Chester, HUD today announced a $16.8 million grant to Wilmington. HUD has also recently announced HOPE VI grants to Albany, NY for $28.8 million, New Brunswick, NJ for $7.5 million, Roanoke, VA for $15.1 million, Cincinnati for $31.1 million, Atlanta for $34.7 million, 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 Philadelphia and Chester 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.
COMMENTS FROM PENNSYLVANIA ELECTED OFFICIALS ON HUD PUBLIC HOUSING REVITALIZATION GRANTS TO PHILADELPHIA AND CHESTER
Senator Rick Santorum: "I am pleased to be able to join Secretary Cuomo in this announcement that will mean better housing, more jobs and a better quality of life for many Philadelphia residents. I have been very supportive of efforts to revitalize our inner cities, particularly areas like South Philadelphia and the City of Chester, and today's announcement means that we are one step closer to those goals. Mayor Rendell and the Philadelphia Housing Authority are to be commended for their aggressive leadership on revitalization efforts and they have my full support in their ongoing endeavors.
Congressman Robert Brady: "We are in the midst of the transformation of public housing in Philadelphia. This project is a reflection of a new attitude about public housing and its residents. The HOPE VI program is much more than just a bricks and mortar project; it is also a rebuilding of pride, esteem and hope.
Congressman Chaka Fattah: "I am exceptionally pleased by this $25 million grant. This federal assistance empowers Philadelphia and its residents with the tools they need to improve their lives.
Mayor Ed Rendell: "Today's announcement presents a tremendous opportunity for the City of Philadelphia to leap forward in our efforts to transform public housing and the lives of residents. Working together we can make a new vision for public housing possible - building new homes and creating a stronger community through new opportunities in training, education and employment."
Mayor Dominic F. Pileggi: "The awarding of this HOPE VI grant is tremendous news for the City of Chester. It will allow the Chester Housing Authority to dramatically reduce the density of public housing in McCaffery Village, providing new quality housing for our residents and improving the surrounding neighborhood in Highland Gardens. This grant focuses on people, not just buildings. The Housing Authority will be able to coordinate resident training, employment and educational services, using an integrated case management system in an effort to encourage residents to find stable jobs and livable wages."
Content Archived: January 20, 2009