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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 99-178
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Wednesday
Or contact your local HUD officeSeptember 1, 1999


WASHINGTON - As part of a program to transform public housing around the nation, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded the Birmingham, Alabama Housing Authority a $35 million HOPE VI grant to make housing available for 1,029 families and to demolish 910 deteriorated public housing apartments.

The funds are part of $571 million in highly competitive grants that HUD is awarding to 21 housing authorities this summer 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 Birmingham, the HUD grant will be used to revitalize the Metropolitan Garden public housing complex in downtown. The grant also will help 152 Birmingham public housing residents find jobs and provide supportive services for 100 young people over the next three years.

The HUD grant will draw an estimated $124 million in other investments to the area.

Cuomo made the announcement today in a telephone conference call with Congressman Earl Hilliard and Mayor William Bell.

"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."

Congressman Earl Hilliard said: "This is a great day for the people of Birmingham. This HUD grant, for nearly $35 million, will go a long way in revitalizing this historical Civil Rights District. The Birmingham area has been a crucial aspect of our American past and with this generous aid it will continue to be a part of America's future. I commend Secretary Cuomo and HUD for bringing together the numerous socioeconomic groups in this city, and providing them with affordable and modernized housing options. I hope this effort will encourage others to make investments in this distinct urban community."

Mayor William Bell said: "We are extremely gratified to receive these funds as we enter the new millennium into the 21 century. This means so much to the residents of Metropolitan Garden who welcome the resource. I look forward to reshaping Birmingham and creating opportunity for the citizens of Birmingham to have good and decent living facilities."

In Birmingham, the new units being built with the HOPE VI grant will be made up of 340 new public housing units, 489 market rate rental units and 200 affordable homes for purchase.

In partnership with the City of Birmingham and the non-profit Birmingham Urban Revitalization Partnership, the Housing Authority will use the HUD grant to demolish severely distressed public housing at Metropolitan Gardens and build two new mixed-income neighborhoods, one surrounding Marconi Park and one adjacent to Kelly Ingram Park in the historic Birmingham Civil Rights Center.

The HOPE VI grant also includes funds to support the Economic Empowerment Program, which over the life of the grant will nearly double the number of working households and enable 80 households to leave welfare altogether.

Previously in Alabama, the Mobile Housing Authority received a $4.7 million HOPE VI revitalization grant for Central Plaza Towers in 1998 and the Jasper Housing Authority received a $120,000 HOPE VI demolition only grant for Carver Courts in 1997.

The replacement housing units in the 21 cities around the nation receiving HOPE VI grants this year 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.

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:

  • 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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