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CUOMO SAYS STRONGER PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN GOVERNMENTS AND PRIVATE SECTOR WILL BENEFIT APPALACHIA
ASHLAND, KY - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo told a historic Appalachian Summit today that governments at all levels, businesses and non-profit groups need to work more closely together to create jobs and expand the region's economy. At the same time, he announced new housing counseling grants to increase homeownership in Appalachia.
"Working in partnership, we can move closer to our goal of replacing poverty with prosperity in Appalachia in the 21st century," Cuomo said. "We can invest to build a better future for the people and places of Appalachia left behind, so they can become full participants in the economic boom that has benefited the vast majority of Americans."
The Appalachian Summit - which began today in Ashland, KY, and will conclude Friday in Huntington, WV - is the first to bring together state governments in the 13-state Appalachian region with businesses, four federal agencies (HUD and the Departments of Agriculture, Transportation and Labor) and the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Several hundred people are attending the summit to discuss the special housing, economic development, transportation, labor, agricultural, and rural development needs facing the region.
"The people who know Appalachia best live in Appalachia," Cuomo said. "I've come here from Washington with other federal officials to listen and learn from you how we can best work together."
Kentucky Governor Paul Patton, who joined Cuomo at today's summit, said: "I view this conference as a watershed event which will mark a new phase of development in the Appalachian region of our nation, and show that the Appalachia of today is not the Appalachia of 40 years ago."
West Virginia Governor Cecil Underwood, who will take part in the summit when it moves to his state Friday, said: "There is nothing more important that we can do than to take advantage of the strong national economy to promote investment in Appalachian counties that are still economically depressed."
Underwood, who is currently co-chair representing governors on the 13-state Appalachian Regional Commission, also spoke to the summit today. Jesse White, who serves as the other co-chair of the Commission, spoke to the summit about the need for expanded partnerships to strengthen Appalachia.
Cuomo announced a total of $1.1 million in housing counseling grants today. The largest grant -- $814,669 - went to Housing Opportunities, Inc., a group based in the urban Appalachian community of McKeesport, PA. The group funds housing counseling programs in Appalachian Pennsylvania and Alabama, as well as in Texas, New Jersey, Michigan, New Mexico and Georgia.
Cuomo announced the remaining housing counseling grants will go to these groups in Appalachia:
Local housing counseling agencies will use the grants to counsel first-time homebuyers, homeowners and renters facing financial difficulties and other housing-related problems. In addition, the organizations help people, including minorities and people with disabilities, to become more aware of homebuying opportunities.
Cuomo said HUD programs are helping to increase homeownership across the nation, including in Kentucky and West Virginia.
The number of home mortgages in Kentucky insured by the Federal Housing Administration - which is part of HUD - is expected to rise 12 percent in fiscal 1999, jumping from 8,720 last year to over 9,803 in the current fiscal year. The number in West Virginia is expected to rise 29 percent, jumping from 1,482 to 1,917.
In dollar terms, the value of mortgages insured by FHA in Kentucky is expected to rise 17 percent, going from $660 million last year to $773 million in the 1999 fiscal year, which runs through September. The value of FHA mortgages in West Virginia is expected to rise 31 percent, from $105 million to $138 million.
In addition, the nation's two largest housing finance companies are expected to buy an estimated $24 billion in mortgages in Kentucky to finance affordable housing for an estimated 336,000 low-and moderate-income families in the state over the next 10 years, under a nationwide policy initiative announced recently by Cuomo.
During the 10-year period, the two companies - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - are expected to buy an estimated $7.6 billion in mortgages in West Virginia to finance affordable housing for an estimated 106,000 low- and moderate-income families
The dollar volume of the loans in Kentucky is about $4.9 billion higher under the new initiative over the next 10 years that it would have been otherwise. In West Virginia the dollar volume of the loans is about $1.5 billion higher and the number of families benefiting is about 27,000 greater. The loans will be purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under a policy that affects states around the country. The companies are regulated by HUD.
Cuomo was last in Kentucky on July 5, when he joined President Clinton and other federal officials on the first stop of the President's New Markets Tour of six urban and rural communities where unemployment is too high and jobs are too scarce. Corporate and governmental leaders joined the President on the tour, during which he announced new initiatives to bring economic opportunity to these places left behind.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009
Content Archived: January 20, 2009