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CUOMO JOINS DOMENICI, WILSON AND BACA TO OPEN ALBUQUERQUE HUD STOREFRONT OFFICE TO IMPROVE SERVICE TO COMMUNITY
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today joined Senator Pete Domenici, Congresswoman Heather Wilson, Mayor Jim Baca and other officials to open HUD's new high-tech Storefront Office in Albuquerque, NM, to improve HUD's services to the community.
The HUD Storefront Office - called HUD Next Door - is a new type of consumer-oriented center that offers a variety of services and information dealing with: buying and building housing, getting home improvement loans, getting rental assistance, filing housing discrimination complaints, opening and expanding businesses, and community revitalization projects.
The Albuquerque Storefront Office -- located at 625 Silver Avenue, SW -- is the second such HUD customer service center to open. The first HUD Next Door Storefront Office opened in Washington, DC last May. Over 2,500 people have been served by the Washington Storefront Office since it opened.
Ten new HUD Storefront Offices are slated to open around the country this year in: Atlanta, GA; Buffalo, NY; Baltimore, MD; Caspar, WY; Cincinnati, OH; Grand Rapids, MI; Helena, MT; Kansas City, MO; Reno, NV; and Sacramento, CA. More offices will follow in later years.
"Reinventing government means serving the American people more effectively and more efficiently, and that's exactly what HUD's Storefront Office will do here in Albuquerque," Cuomo said. "By bringing customer service centers like this directly into communities where people live and work, we're reaching out to make it easier for people to get housing information and services they need."
"This Albuquerque Storefront office will provide essential resources needed to promote housing options for our neighborhoods," Domenici said. "I think it is exciting that the Albuquerque Storefront will serve as a model for new HUD offices into the next century. For this type of housing outreach to succeed in New Mexico, we must also continue strong efforts to help the most needy in our communities - the homeless, the poor and the disabled."
Senator Jeff Bingaman said: "HUD Next Door is one example of how we can make sure government is more relevant to the people it serves. It will make information about federal housing programs more accessible by making HUD more accessible - and that's exactly what the people of New Mexico deserve."
Wilson said: "We are very happy to have HUD Next Door in downtown Albuquerque and co-located with our other federal offices. I appreciate HUD's emphasis on customer service."
Baca said: "I commend Secretary Cuomo and HUD for their commitment to providing easier access to the valuable services they provide through this Storefront Office. The purchase of a family home energizes our neighborhoods and revitalizes our community. This investment in our city will have a far-reaching impact on our citizens."
The 11,111-square-foot Albuquerque Storefront Office resembles a high-tech office with warm lighting, workspaces, and dedicated computers called HUD Answer Machines where people can research information on HUD programs.
Outside the building is a "touch screen" information computer kiosk that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, allowing the public unlimited access to HUD information.
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.
HUD program experts, known as Community Builders, will staff the Albuquerque Storefront Office. HUD Community Builders serve as a bridge to the public and are specially trained to assist the community with any aspect of housing and community development.
Community Builders working out of Storefront Offices have laptop computers to enable them to travel widely and log onto HUD's computer network from any location in the country - allowing them to create "temporary" HUD offices anywhere in the United States. This system will allow for a higher level of service to the public.
Public organizations and groups will be encouraged to use the HUD's Storefront Offices as local community centers where they may gather 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.
Designed with the help of Gensler, a nationally known architectural and design firm, the Albuquerque Storefront combines innovative space design, technology, and customer service in a way that breaks with traditional federal government design. By using extensive glass, exposed beams and upholstered chairs, the effect is to make the office warmer, more comfortable and user friendly.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009