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HUD ASSISTANT SECRETARY APGAR AND CONGRESSMAN WALSH OPEN SYRACUSE STOREFRONT OFFICE
SYRACUSE, NY - HUD Assistant Secretary for Housing William Apgar and Congressman James T. Walsh today formally opened HUD's Storefront Office in downtown Syracuse and announced the office will soon hire at least six additional permanent employees. Syracuse Mayor Roy Bernardi and Onondaga County Executive Nicholas J. Pirro also took part in the opening.
Walsh said: "This office is a wonderful concept, an outstanding way for HUD to reach into the neighborhoods and positively affect the quality of life for so many Americans. People in public housing, prospective home owners, local advocacy groups - all will have this place to find answers to questions and helpful advice from HUD. I want to congratulate Secretary Andrew Cuomo for his initiative and officially welcome the very capable staff to Syracuse."
Apgar said HUD will soon hire at least six permanent Community Builders to work at the Syracuse Storefront, which is called HUD Next Door. The Community Builders will handle inquiries, complaints and requests for assistance coming from central New Yorkers. The office is currently staffed by two Community Builders, James Murphy and Amatullah Yamini, who are supported temporarily by staff from the Buffalo and Albany HUD offices.
The addition of the new positions in Syracuse is part of a larger effort by HUD to hire approximately 350 permanent employees as Community Builders to work in similar HUD storefronts nationwide. These positions will be posted within the next several weeks.
"At HUD, 'your neighbor next door' is more than a slogan to us," Apgar said. "It is a commitment to bring quality, convenient service to all of our customers. The Storefront concept implemented by Secretary Cuomo is the embodiment of that commitment."
Bernardi said: "Today's opening signals the beginning of expanded community building partnerships in Central New York by offering individuals and organizations who need federal assistance face-to-face access to appropriate officials from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The establishment of a HUD Next Door facility downtown is indicative of the strong relationship between the City of Syracuse and HUD in community development efforts."
Pirro said: "The Storefront initiative is a good one. It makes customer service a priority and provides a menu of information and services to the people of Onondaga County and central New York in a 'one-stop shopping' location."
Apgar also announced that two Syracuse groups are among those earning new HUD grants to work to reduce housing discrimination. The Fair Housing Council of Central New York, Inc. will receive $293,441 to conduct enforcement, testing and investigations of housing discrimination. Home Headquarters, Inc. will receive $88,745 to provide fair housing education in Onondaga County. The grants are part of $15 million in grants to groups in 53 cities that Cuomo announced today, to help carry out President Clinton's crackdown on all types of housing discrimination and to boost the President's goal of increasing the minority homeownership rate.
The Syracuse Storefront Office is located at the corner of Jefferson and Warren Streets in the Dey's Centennial Building, a former department store now owned by the City of Syracuse. The building houses city offices and offices for non-profit organizations. The Syracuse Storefront is open weekdays from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. The phone number is 315-477-0616.
The Syracuse Community Builders have already assisted the estimated 50 walk-in visitors per day who have visited the Storefront since its late September opening, and field about 20 telephone inquiries a day.
The Storefronts are equipped with computers available for public use to assist people in obtaining information on all HUD programs and searching the various federal inventories for homes offered for sale. The same information is available 24 hours a day through the use of an outdoor "touch screen" computer kiosk accessed on Jefferson Street. Information obtained from the kiosk can be printed for customer use as well.
Written information (also available in Spanish and Vietnamese) is available to assist potential home buyers find mortgage and rehabilitation financing, lender information, and home buying tips to help them realize the dream of homeownership.
In addition, Community 2020 - HUD's new computer mapping software - is available at all HUD Storefronts and all HUD offices nationwide. This software provides the latest project and funding information on all HUD programs in thousands of cities across the country. For example, the Community 2020 software provides valuable information for organizations looking to fund a homeless shelter or for businesses wanting to revitalize a downtown center. Included in the software is information on project location, purpose, number of people served and dollar amount.
In addition, an expert in the disposition of HUD's properties will be available at the Syracuse Storefront to provide technical assistance to the community.
The 4,000 square-foot Syracuse Storefront Office includes a community room equipped with the latest in telecommunications equipment, which allows the Storefront to accommodate satellite broadcasts, teleconferences and video conferences.
Apgar said HUD encourages public organizations and groups to use the Syracuse Storefront Office to hold community meetings, view satellite training presentations, and log onto HUD's Internet Homepage. In addition, school and community groups will be invited to the offices to hear presentations on how HUD's programs can benefit people in their neighborhoods.
The Syracuse Storefront is the eighth such office to be opened nationally (Buffalo, NY; Baltimore; Albuquerque, NM; Reno, NV; Sacramento, CA; Helena, MT; and, Washington, DC). Six more are planned to be open soon in Grand Rapids, MI; Cincinnati; Atlanta; Casper, WY; and, Tucson, AZ.
For more information about HUD's storefronts, go to the HUD web at http://archives.hud.gov/initiatives/storefront/index.cfm [content has been moved to Archives at the link given.]
Content Archived: January 20, 2009
Content Archived: January 20, 2009