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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 99-157
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Tuesday
Or contact your local HUD officeAugust 24, 1999


ATLANTA - As part of a program to transform public housing around the nation, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded the Atlanta Housing Authority a $35 million HOPE VI grant to make housing available for 560 families and to demolish 510 deteriorated public housing apartments.

The $35 million grant to Atlanta is part of $571 million in highly competitive grants that HUD is awarding to 21 cities this month and next under the public housing transformation program known as HOPE VI. The grants will be used to provide public, affordable and market-rate housing for 9,311 families and to demolish 9,134 units of severely distressed public housing.

Cuomo was joined in Atlanta for the announcement by Senator Max Cleland and Mayor Bill Campbell.

In Atlanta, the Joel Chandler Harris Homes public housing development will be revitalized with the HUD grant. The grant also will help 150 Atlanta public housing residents find jobs and provide supportive services for 300 young people.

Supportive services include child development education, technology-focused education, mentoring for school-aged children, and preventive health care. Three historically black colleges that are located near the site - Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Spelman College - will help the Atlanta Housing Authority provide the supportive services.

Nationally, HUD funds will be used to help about 3,400 public housing residents get jobs and become self-sufficient.

"We are transforming public housing with problems into new mixed-income communities with promise," Cuomo said. "We are making public housing an avenue to opportunity, jobs and self-sufficiency - instead of a dead end of poverty and long-term dependence."

Senator Cleland said: "FDR once said that the purpose of politics is to generate hope. With that in mind, it is very appropriate to say that today the purpose of government is to generate HOPE. The HOPE VI revitalization grant will bring much needed relief to an area that has not benefited from the economic boom that has washed over much of our city and region. By addressing the critical need of the residents of the Joel Chandler Harris Homes, HUD is not just building apartments, but it is bringing life back to a neighborhood, revitalizing a community, and truly giving hope to the people, especially the children, who live there. I would like to thank Secretary Cuomo for taking time out of his schedule to personally share this good news with the people of Atlanta."

Congressman John Lewis said: "This award will truly make a difference in public housing communities such as Joel Chandler Harris that are in the most dire need of revitalization. Today, HUD is helping Atlanta revitalize some of its most severely distressed public housing and work to ensure that families, the elderly and others have access to decent, safe and affordable housing. Secretary Cuomo is to be commended for his dedication to improving the quality of public housing in Atlanta and nationwide."

In Atlanta, the new units being built will be made up of 240 new public housing units, 60 affordable homes for purchase, 156 units of market-rate rental housing, and 104 units of privately-owned low- and moderate-income housing financed with the help of the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.

The replacement housing units in the 21 cities will be made up of 3,720 units of new public housing, 2,358 units of new privately owned affordable and market-rate rental housing, and 3,233 units that will be sold for homeownership by public housing residents and by market-rate buyers.

Some of the replacement housing units will be at the site of public housing being demolished, and some will be at other locations.

HUD and housing authorities will also partner with schools near public housing to help children from public housing families do better in school to prepare them for self-sufficiency as adults.

Atlanta previously received a HOPE VI grant from HUD for $42.6 million for Techwood/Clark Howell in 1993, a $400,000 planning grant for Perry Homes/Carver in 1995, $20 million for Perry Homes/Carver in 1996, a $9.7 million demolition grant for Carver Homes in 1996, and $34.7 million for Carver Homes in 1998.

HUD's investment of $571 million in HOPE VI public housing transformation grants around the nation this year is expected to help generate a record $1.2 billion in additional investment in housing and jobs programs at public housing developments - including $854 million in private funds and $328 million in other government funds.

This year, every dollar HUD is investing in public housing transformation is generating a record high average of $2.07 in other investment - far more than the 31 cents in other investment the transformation program generated when it began in 1993.

HUD will pay temporary relocation costs for residents whose apartments are being demolished. Relocated residents in good standing will be given the first opportunity to move back to the newly constructed units at the site, or will be given rental assistance vouchers that will subsidize their rents in privately owned apartments if they choose not to return to public housing.

In addition, relocated residents receiving rental assistance vouchers will be given the same job training and other services that will be offered to people living in the replacement public housing, to help them get jobs and become self-sufficient.

All new units being built will conform to guidelines of HUD's Healthy Homes Initiative, which will ensure that homes incorporate safeguards to protect residents against hazards such as lead poisoning, fire, carbon monoxide and radon.

The 21 cities receiving grants were selected in a competition involving 80 cities that submitted applications requesting a total of $1.8 billion in grants. Cities were selected based on a checklist of criteria measuring the effectiveness of their public housing revitalization plans.

Under the Clinton Administration, HUD is carrying out the most dramatic transformation of public housing since the public housing program was created in 1937 by President Franklin Roosevelt. The HOPE VI program was created in 1992 as a direct result of the National Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing report that found nearly 100,000 units of "severely distressed" public housing.

HUD has approved the demolition of 53,000 units of the worst public housing under the HOPE VI program, and has approved the creation of housing opportunities for 72,000 families. The new housing opportunities include 35,000 new public housing units, 25,000 other new units to achieve mixed-income housing, and 12,000 housing units subsidized by Section 8 rental assistance vouchers.

There are about 1.4 million units of public housing around the nation, where nearly 2.7 million people live. The median annual income of households in public housing is $9,257 . A total of 49 percent of households are made up of families with children, another 32 percent house senior citizens, and 17 percent are home to people with disabilities.

HUD's assistance to Atlanta will be tailored to carry out plans developed locally. Each of the 21 local communities receiving grants developed its own revitalization program under a HUD policy that gives them great flexibility to come up with plans to meet their own special needs.

The HOPE VI program has five key objectives:

  • Changing the physical shape of public housing by demolishing severely distressed projects - high-rises and barracks-style apartments - and replacing them with garden-style apartments or townhouses that become part of their surrounding communities.

  • Reducing concentrations of poverty by encouraging a greater income mix among public housing residents and by encouraging working families to move into public housing and into new market-rate housing being built as part of the neighborhoods where public housing is located.

  • Establishing support services - such as education and training programs, child care services, transportation services and counseling - to help public housing residents get and keep jobs.

  • Establishing and enforcing high standards of personal and community responsibility by barring drug dealers and other criminals from moving into public housing and evicting those already there, under President Clinton's One Strike and You're Out policy and through other anti-crime programs as well.

  • Forging broad-based partnerships to involve public housing residents, state and local government officials, the private sector, non-profit groups and the community at large in planning and implementing the new communities.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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