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CUOMO ANNOUNCES $21.5 MILLION GRANT TO BALTIMORE AND $485.5 MILLION TO 21 OTHER CITIES TO TRANSFORM PUBLIC HOUSING AND HELP RESIDENTS GET JOBS
BALTIMORE - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today presented Baltimore with a $21.5 million grant and announced $485.5 million in grants to 21 other cities 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 returning to the original vision of public housing," Cuomo said. "We're giving every American a clean, safe, decent place to live and offering them the support services - job training, day care, transportation - they need to move up the economic ladder. Under this program we will build communities, rather than institutions. We will build neighborhoods, not projects."
Cuomo made the announcement of the grant to Baltimore at a news conference held at the U.S. Customs House with Gov. Parris Glendening, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Sen. Paul Sarbanes, Congressman Elijah Cummings, and Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke.
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.
In addition to the grant to Baltimore, HUD today announced grants to Alexandria, VA for $6.7 million, Charlotte, NC for $34.7 million, Greensboro, NC for $23 million, New York City for $21.4 million, and Seattle for $17 million.
In the last two weeks, Cuomo has announced grants to Philadelphia for $25.2 million, Chester for $9.7 million, Wilmington, DE for $16.8 million, 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, Dallas for $34.9, Los Angeles for $23 million, Denver for $25.7 million, and Oakland, CA for $12.7 million.
The 22 selected 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.
Cuomo said the grant to Baltimore will be used to revitalize the Flag House Courts public housing development. The funds will help create 338 new housing units at the sites and demolish 487 deteriorated units of public housing.
In addition, the grant to Baltimore will help 179 families currently living at Flag House Courts and 171 new families who will live at the revitalized Flag House Courts 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.
In Baltimore the new units being built will be made up of 113 units of rental public housing, 141 affordable units for homeownership, 27 lease-purchase units, and 57 market-rate rental units. 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 help public housing residents who get jobs in Baltimore to buy 168 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 business - 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.
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 Baltimore and the other 21 cities 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 MARYLAND ELECTED OFFICIALS ON HUD PUBLIC HOUSING REVITALIZATION GRANT TO BALTIMORE
Governor Parris Glendening: "My philosophy regarding housing is a simple and fairly basic one: Every Marylander - every person anywhere - deserves to have safe, decent housing in which to live and raise a family. It is an American tragedy that so many do not. I thank Secretary Cuomo, Presdient Clinton, and Senators Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski for working long and hard to develop innovative ways to improve where people live and help to ensure that residents receive the education, training, and jobs they need to become successful.
Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend: "Decaying housing attracts crime and breeds despair. Attractive homes and self-sufficient residents, engaged in their communities, bring a sense of pride and possibility. This comprehensive HUD strategy, under the leadership of the Clinton-Gore Administration and Secretary Cuomo, will help us build healthy neighborhoods, new hope and new opportunities. I salute the hard work of our Congressional delegation, especially Senators Sarbanes and Mikulski, and Congressmen Cummings and Cardin, in making Maryland a part of this historic national initiative.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009