PRESIDENT CLINTON PROPOSES $28 BILLION HUD BUDGET - A $2.5 BILLION INCREASE - TO OPEN DOORS FOR MORE AMERICANS
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WASHINGTON - President Clinton today asked Congress to approve a $2.5 billion budget increase for the Department of Housing and Urban Development that boosts HUD's Fiscal Year 2000 budget to $28 billion.
"This budget will open doors for more Americans," HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo said.
"The budget increases funding for virtually every major HUD program and will enable HUD to help lead communities into the new century."
The HUD budget funds initiatives to revitalize economically distressed communities with new jobs and business growth, to help welfare recipients and others get jobs and become self-supporting, and to increase the supply of affordable housing with 100,000 new rental assistance vouchers and other actions.
"America's economy is doing extremely well as a result of President Clinton's policies," Cuomo said. "The President is committed to making our economy work well everywhere, for all Americans. This budget says it's time for us to invest in people and places that have been left behind, and offers them opportunity and security."
Cuomo said the budget rewards HUD for its crackdown on waste, fraud and abuse, and its successful HUD 2020 Management Reform Plan that reinvented and improved the Department.
"Two years ago, we at HUD made it our number one priority to close the competence gap. I'm proud to say we have," Cuomo said. "Our historic management reform put performance and product ahead of process. We have fundamentally redesigned the Agency for the new century."
The Secretary said the budget is about opening doors: to new markets, to affordable housing, to One America, to a better quality of life, and to life-long security.
Cuomo said the budget "addresses five of the major challenges our nation's communities will face in the 21st century" by:
- ENSURING COMMUNITIES ARE ECONOMICALLY COMPETITIVE by creating jobs, helping businesses grow and prosper, and helping people move from welfare to work. Initiatives in the budget include: 1) $105 million in new funding for 15 newly designated Empowerment Zones and $45 million in new funding to 15 new Strategic Planning Communities. 2) $125 million in grants and $625 million in loan guarantees for a new Community Empowerment Fund to create and retain about 100,000 jobs. 3) $37 million for a new America's Private Investment Companies fund that would stimulate $1.5 billion in private investment in distressed urban and rural areas. 4) $4.775 billion (a $25 million increase) for Community Development Block Grants to localities around the country. 5) $75 million for the Youthbuild jobs program for disadvantaged young people (a $32 million increase). 6) Targeting $100 million out of $310 million in Drug Elimination Grants for a youth-oriented Drug Diversion Program.
- MAKING HOUSING AFFORDABLE by increasing HUD's commitment to its core mission of providing "a decent, safe, and sanitary home and suitable living environment for every American." New increases in the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) home mortgage loan limits that took effect last year and this year will further the effort. Initiatives in the budget include: 1) $1.61 billion for the HOME Program (a $10 million increase) to increase the supply of affordable housing by an estimated 84,400 units. 2) $580 million to create 100,000 new rental assistance vouchers to enable low-income individuals and families to afford apartments. 3) $5 million for a new Citizens Volunteer Housing Corps to help reclaim and rebuild abandoned and dilapidated housing in cities across the country. 4) $1.12 billion (up $150 million) to help homeless Americans get housing and jobs and become self-sufficient, including 18,000 of the new rental assistance vouchers.
- MOVING CLOSER TO ONE AMERICA by expanding programs to fight housing discrimination. These programs are based on the conviction that there will never be One America until there is the opportunity of equal access for all. Funding for HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity programs increased by 18 percent to $47 million.
- FINDING REGIONAL SOLUTIONS AND CREATING SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES at a time when cities, suburbs, small towns and rural areas are more interdependent than ever. Initiatives in the budget include: 1) $50 million in new Regional Connections grants to help communities develop smarter growth strategies across jurisdictional lines. 2) $50 million in new grants to localities to help fund the demolition of blighted and abandoned buildings as part of a comprehensive plan to redevelop properties for commercial or residential use.
- RESPONDING TO THE "AGING OF AMERICA" with a commitment not just to saving Social Security but to providing housing security for older Americans through an innovative and historic housing commitment - a Continuum of Care - for the elderly. The budget provides $747 million for this comprehensive housing security plan for the elderly, including: $660 million for Section 202 Housing for the Elderly, which is being reformed to allow conversion of existing buildings where seniors need assisted living; and $87 million for 15,000 rental assistance vouchers targeted to senior citizens, as part of the 100,000 new vouchers.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009