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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 98-486
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Wednesday
Or contact your local HUD officeOctober 14, 1998


NEW YORK - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded $35 million in grants to the New York City Housing Authority to fight drug abuse and other crimes in public housing.

New York City, which has the largest public housing authority in the nation, is receiving 11 percent of the $305.2 million in Drug Elimination grants that HUD is awarding this year - far more than any other city in the United States. The New York City Housing Authority operates 180,000 of the 1.2 million units of public housing in the United States.

"These grants are good news for some of the poorest families in New York City and bad news for drug dealers who terrorize them," Cuomo said. "We will fight drug abuse with prevention and treatment programs and with a crackdown on drug dealers and other criminals. We are telling drug dealers in HUD housing to find another line of work or be sent to another type of subsidized housing - a prison cell."

Cuomo announced the assistance at a New York City news conference with Ruben Franco, Chairman of the New York City Housing Authority.

Franco thanked Cuomo "for having the foresight to make this vital funding available once again." Franco added: "This grant allows us to continue our dedicated and successful efforts to eradicate crime and drugs and make our developments proud, safe, quality communities."

Cuomo said the recent Congressional approval of the Department's $24.5 billion budget for the 1999 fiscal year, which he called "the best HUD budget in 10 years," will speed the transformation of public and assisted housing.

"HUD is transforming public housing from isolated ghettos of poverty, drugs, despair and crime into safe and economically integrated communities of opportunity," Cuomo said.

The New York City Housing Authority will use the $35 million from HUD for a broad range of anti-drug programs that will benefit residents of 153 public housing developments.

Law enforcement efforts funded by the HUD grants include continuation of a program that enables 350 police officers to provide a broad range of intensive law enforcement services to public housing, such as concentrated patrols of buildings, community centers and grounds. An Anti-Narcotics Strike Force of investigators will work with law enforcement agencies to arrest and evict residents involved in selling drugs. Officers will also be deployed on an Anti-Graffiti/Anti-Vandalism Project. In addition, HUD will fund resident anti-crime patrols.

Drug prevention and treatment programs that will be funded by HUD include a number of activities that give teen-agers alternative activities to gangs and drugs, including: a Summer Youth Employment Program for teen-agers that gives them jobs skills and makes physical improvements to public housing; and sports and recreational activities such as baseball, tennis, gymnastics, Scouting and the Inner City Games. In addition, HUD funds: programs to help victims of domestic violence involving drug and alcohol abuse; and a drug treatment outreach and referral program for drug abusers in public housing.

Vice President Al Gore, Cuomo and Attorney General Janet Reno announced a four-part enforcement and prevention strategy to fight crime and drugs in public housing in June 1997. The grants announced today are one element of that strategy.

The Drug Elimination Grants are awarded on a competitive basis, based on the seriousness of the drug and crime problem facing a housing authority or assisted housing development, and the strength of local plans to address the problem. About 900 housing authorities, 60 Indian tribes and 500 privately owned housing developments applied for the grants being awarded this year.

HUD has awarded more than $1.6 billion in Drug Elimination Grants since 1989, including the grants being awarded this year.

In public housing, the Drug Elimination Grants are used for: drug prevention, intervention and treatment programs; reimbursing law enforcement agencies for providing additional security; hiring security guards and investigators; resident anti-crime patrols; and physical improvements to housing developments to enhance security - such as fencing, lighting and improved locks.

HUD's budget for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1 increases funding for HUD's key programs and renewals of Section 8 rental assistance by a total of more than $2 billion in the budget over 1998 levels. Spending was increased on most HUD programs and wasn't cut in any programs.

Legislation passed in the same bill as HUD's budget will:

  • Transform public housing by reducing segregation by race and income, encouraging and rewarding work, bringing more working families into public housing, and increasing the availability of subsidized housing for very poor families. In addition, the bill improves living conditions in public housing, gives the poorest families neighbors who will be role models of working families, and reduces crime. The bill also allows HUD to continue to tear down the largest failed public housing projects and replace them with new townhouse-style developments.

  • Expand the supply of affordable housing by enabling 90,000 more families to get Section 8 rental assistance vouchers that will subsidize their rents in privately owned apartments - the first increase in vouchers in four years.

  • Increase homeownership by raising the limit on home mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration from the current range of $86,317 in low-cost housing areas to $170,362 in high-cost areas. The bill increases the loan limits to a range of $109,032 in low-cost areas to $197,621 in high-cost areas. The higher ceiling on FHA-insured home mortgages opens the door of homeownership to thousands of families needing FHA insurance to get mortgages, but locked out now because the current loan limits have not kept pace with rising home prices.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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