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CUOMO AWARDS $727,379 IN GRANTS TO FIGHT DRUGS AND CRIME IN PUBLIC AND ASSISTED HOUSING IN AUSTIN AND DEL VALLE, TEXAS
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded $727,379 in grants to fight drug abuse and other crimes in public housing and HUD-assisted housing in Austin and Del Valle, TX.
A total of $482,000 in Drug Elimination Grants will go to the Austin Housing Authority to implement a comprehensive strategy to reduce drugs and drug-related crimes by providing policing, resident involvement and drug prevention. Another $120,379 in Drug Elimination Grants will go to Oak Creek Village Apartments in Austin for physical improvements and resident programs
An additional $125,000 in Drug Elimination Grants will go to Bergstrom Arms, a 98-unit HUD-assisted low-income housing development in Del Valle, which will use the funds to build a Community Room.
HUD Deputy Secretary-Designate Saul Ramirez made the announcement at a news conference in Austin with Mayor Kirk Watson. Earlier today Ramirez made the keynote speech for the Texas Homeless Network Annual Conference.
"These grants are good news for some of the poorest families in Austin and Del Valle, 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."
Mayor Watson said: "I want to thank HUD for awarding this grant that will help complement the Austin Police Department's community-policing efforts. This grant continues the partnership between police and residents of our public housing developments by empowering residents with the resources to help in the fight against drugs and crime."
"The award of this grant will enable the housing authority to partner with the police department and the city in developing community policing and other safety measures for safe neighborhoods and developing resident awareness," said Jim Hargrove, Executive Director of the Austin Housing Authority.
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 grants will be distributed in the next several weeks in this way: $280.6 million to 749 public housing authorities; $8 million to 39 Indian Tribes; and $16.6 million to 143 privately owned housing developments that receive HUD assistance.
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.
In assisted housing, the Drug Elimination Grants are used for: drug prevention and education programs; referrals to drug treatment and counseling; and physical improvements to developments to enhance security. Individual grants for assisted housing developments are limited to a maximum of $125,000.
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:
Content Archived: January 20, 2009