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CUOMO SAYS PRESIDENT CLINTON'S WELFARE REFORMS WOULD USE HUD ASSISTANCE TO HELP 25,000 MORE FAMILIES BECOME SELF-SUFFICIENT
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said that welfare reforms proposed by President Clinton today would use HUD rental assistance vouchers to help 25,000 more families move from welfare to work and self-sufficiency.
The President announced today that his proposed budget for the 2000 fiscal year will request $144 million to pay for the 25,000 new welfare-to-work vouchers for people who are on welfare or have been on welfare in the past year.
In addition, the budget would provide continued funding for the 50,000 welfare-to-work vouchers created in the current fiscal year - for a total of $430 million in funding for 75,000 welfare-to-work vouchers. The vouchers in the current year's budget were the first new rental assistance vouchers approved by Congress in five years.
The new vouchers would help more welfare recipients to rent housing on the private market and live closer to available jobs, Cuomo said. People receiving HUD rental vouchers pay 30 percent of their income for rent, with HUD subsidies picking up the remainder of their rent.
"You can't help someone move from welfare to work unless that person can get to work," Cuomo said. "We want to help people make the journey from home to job that can transform their lives and create better futures for their families."
The additional 25,000 welfare-to-work vouchers are needed because about two-thirds of new jobs are being created in the suburbs, but three out of four welfare recipients live in rural areas or central cities, Cuomo said.
Because many welfare recipients are unable to afford cars, getting to work poses special challenges. Public transportation often does not travel to job sites outside cities, or involves long commutes when it does. In addition, public transit often operates less frequently or not at all overnight, making it difficult or impossible for welfare recipients to travel to night-shift jobs.
Cuomo said HUD will publish an official notice this week seeking applications from housing authorities around the country for the 50,000 welfare-to-work vouchers in the current year's budget. The vouchers will be awarded on a competitive basis.
In order to compete for the vouchers, housing authorities will submit plans showing how they would help families move from welfare to permanent jobs. The plans will be developed in close coordination with state and local welfare agencies and other organizations.
HUD's welfare-to-work vouchers will complement the Access to Jobs transportation funding administered by the Department of Transportation. This program helps states and localities to develop flexible transportation alternatives for welfare recipients and other low-income workers.
In addition, HUD will work with private industry councils, transit providers, child care providers, workforce development organizations, small businesses, public and private service delivery agencies, and state and local governments to help people receiving welfare-to-work vouchers get and keep jobs.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009