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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 98-619
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Friday
Or contact your local HUD officeNovember 20, 1998


Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded $460,000 to help create and improve affordable housing for about 17 families now living in severely substandard conditions in an impoverished neighborhood known as a colonia in Fry Townsite, near Sierra Vista, Arizona.

"This assistance will quite literally transform the lives of families who are trapped in terrible poverty and living in conditions unfit for human habitation," Cuomo said. "It will benefit families who work hard in low-wage jobs that just don't pay enough to afford decent housing."

Cuomo said the Southeastern Arizona Governments Organization (SEAGO) will receive the $460,000 from HUD to rehabilitate about 15 owner-occupied homes and construct about two new homes with Habitat for Humanity over a three-year period. SEAGO will work with the Arizona Department of Commerce, the City of Sierra Vista and Sierra Vista Habitat for Humanity to develop a model for self-help housing construction and housing rehabilitation in Fry Townsite. The grantee will leverage approximately $176,000 of other resources.

The grant award was announced by Mercedes Marquez, HUD Deputy General Counsel, who toured the site area on a visit to Arizona.

The assistance is part of $25 million that HUD is providing to poor rural and Native American communities across the nation to improve housing conditions and create jobs. A total of $5 million of the funds is set aside for a housing program known as the Colonias Initiative, which enables poor working families - primarily low-paid farmworkers - along the U.S.-Mexico border to become homeowners.

Colonias is a Spanish term for neighborhoods along the U.S.-Mexico border that are characterized by inadequate services, substandard, shanty-type shelters without water and sewer service, poor or non-existent streets, and high levels of unmanaged environmental pollution. The infrastructure needs of colonias are estimated to be nearly $1 billion.

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