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CUOMO ANNOUNCES $35 MILLION HOPE VI GRANT TO SEATTLE, WASHINGTON TO TRANSFORM PUBLIC HOUSING AND HELP RESIDENTS
WASHINGTON - As part of a program to transform public housing around the nation, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded the Seattle Housing Authority a $35 million HOPE VI grant to make housing available for 981 families and to demolish 496 deteriorated public housing apartments.
The funds are part of $571 million in highly competitive grants that HUD is awarding to 21 housing authorities 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 in 21 cities.
In Seattle, the HUD grant will be used to revitalize the Ranier Vista Garden Community. The grant also will help 625 Seattle public housing residents find jobs and provide supportive services for 865 young people over the next three years.
The HUD grant will draw an estimated $100 million in other investment to the area..
Cuomo made the announcement today in a telephone conference call with Congressman Jim McDermott and Seattle Mayor Paul Schell.
"We are transforming public housing projects with problems into new mixed-income communities with promise," Cuomo said. "We are making public housing a launching pad to opportunity, jobs and self-sufficiency - instead of a warehouse trapping people in poverty and long-term dependence."
Senator Slade Gorton said: "With the ever increasing cost of housing, the citizens of Washington have shown a commitment to work together in their local communities and businesses to find innovative solutions that will provide affordable public housing. I am delighted this money wil be used to continue their efforts."
Senator Patty Murray said: "For many Puget Sound area residents, finding affordable housing is a serious problem. Today's announcement by HUD of a HOPE VI grant for Ranier Vista Garden Community is a major step forward and could not come at a better time for those in need of affordable housing in Seattle."
Congressman McDermott, who represents Seattle, said: "I want to thank Secretary Cuomo for his close attention to this request by the city of Seattle. The HOPE VI grant will help to revitalize Ranier Vista Garden Community. I also want to congratulate Mayor Schell and the Seattle Housing Authority for pushing this project forward. This grant will increase opportunities for working families to move into the Columbia City neighborhood and to buy homes. Neighborhood residents anticipate that this project will invigorate their efforts towards long-term economic viability."
Mayor Schell emphasized the potential for Seattle in using this funding for community development. "We are transforming these housing projects into neighborhoods," he said, "and removing the stigma associated with living there. The success of Holly Park, a similar HOPE VI development, shows what can be accomplished when we meld creative local housing strategies with funding from the federal government."
In Seattle, the new units being built with the HOPE VI grants will be made up of 250 new public housing units; 500 affordable and market-rate homes for purchase; and 231 units of privately-owned low- and moderate-income housing financed with the help of the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.
The grant will be used to the create a "pedestrian-friendly" development in Seattle that will integrate nicely into the surrounding community with a focus on homeownership opportunities. In addition to the new housing, the site will benefit from a proposed light rail line that will connect the community to job opportunities in downtown Seattle. Retail space will be developed near the transit station.
The Seattle Housing Authority will work with the public school system to build an elementary school (kindergarten through 8th grade) near the site that will also provide space for community gatherings and adult education. Residents will be eligible for employment, education, and training opportunities through Jobs Plus and Campus of Learners.
These Washington State housing authorities received HOPE VI grants from HUD in recent years: Seattle - a $48.1 million revitalization grant for Holly Park in 1995, a $17 million revitalization grant for Roxbury in 1998, and a $788,570 million demolition grant for Roxbury Village in 1996; Tacoma - a $1.8 million demolition grant for Hillside Terrace in 1996.
The replacement housing units in the 21 cities around the nation receiving HOPE VI grants 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.
Nationally, HOPE VI funds will also be used to help about 3,400 public housing residents get jobs and become self-sufficient.
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. In Seattle, each HOPE VI dollar awarded today is expected to generate $2.88 in other investment.
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.
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 housing authorities receiving HOPE VI 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 HOPE VI assistance will be tailored to carry out plans developed by each grant recipient. Each recipient developed its own revitalization program under a HUD policy that gives local housing authorities great flexibility to come up with plans to meet their own special needs.
The HOPE VI program has five key objectives:
The Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) will receive a HOPE VI Revitalization Grant in the amount of $35,000,000 that will enable the redevelopment of the Rainier Vista Garden Community. The "pedestrian-friendly" redevelopment plan replaces Rainier Vista's isolating, curved street design with a landscaped grid pattern that is integrated into the surrounding community. The dramatic increase in homeownership opportunities and mixed-income residents will help stabilize the neighborhood's economic base. The site will also benefit from a proposed light rail line that will connect residents to jobs in downtown Seattle. Retail space near the new transit station will also revitalize commercial activity in the community. SHA is also working with the Seattle Public Schools to locate a new K-8 school at Rainier Vista, which will provide gathering space and classrooms for community use after hours. Residents will be eligible for employment, education, and training opportunities with Jobs Plus and Campus of Learners. The HOPE VI grant will leverage an additional $100 million in investment.
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Content Archived: January 20, 2009
Content Archived: January 20, 2009