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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 98-495
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-06852:00 p.m. Friday
Or contact your local HUD officeOctober 16, 1998


Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded $2,257,955 in grants to fight drug abuse and other crimes in public housing in Richmond, VA.

Cuomo made the announcement in a satellite news conference with Senator Chuck Robb and Congressman Bobby Scott.

"These grants are good news for some of the poorest families in Richmond 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."

Congressman Scott said: "HUD's Drug Elimination Grants are making a difference in the fight against illegal drugs in our public housing communities. I am pleased to see Secretary Cuomo's renewed commitment to this vital program through the increased funding."

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.

Nationwide, HUD is awarding $305.2 million in Drug Elimination Grants this year - more than in any previous year.

The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority will receive two Drug Elimination Grants:

  • $1,116,731 so that 700 youth will continue to receive education and homework assistance, cultural enrichment, social and recreation, leadership, and mentoring in after-school and summer programs. Parents will receive education, job training, and employment services. Three safety and security staff will be hired to work with residents, staff and police to implement long-term safety programs, and assist community police and other law enforcement strategies implemented with HUD assistance in 1994.

  • $1,141,224 to expand on existing community resources that have proven to be effective in combating drugs and crime. The Housing Authority will take a "holistic" approach to the problems of preventing and eliminating illegal drugs and criminal activity in its communities, including addressing behavioral problems of its youth in schools, beginning with suspensions in elementary schools. By providing a continuum of services to residents, and including residents as equal partners in eliminating drugs and crime in its communities, the Housing Authority hopes to sustain and strengthen decent, safe, and affordable fair 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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