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CUOMO TOURS GUADALUPE, ARIZONA AND ANNOUNCES FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR TOWN'S MERCADO
GUADALUPE, AZ - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today said HUD will fund a business and marketing survey to improve the Mercado in Guadalupe, Arizona, as part of an effort to spark job creation and economic development.
"Our nation's strong economy is benefiting most American communities, but some towns like Guadalupe are struggling," Cuomo said while visiting the town of 5,500 residents, where poverty is widespread. "I've come here as part of HUD's effort to help these communities become participants instead of spectators in America's prosperity. We want to give more families the opportunity to get the jobs and housing they need to build better lives."
HUD's business and marketing survey, costing up to $45,000, will serve as a strategic management plan for Guadalupe's 27,000-square-foot Mercado, which houses seven small businesses and the Town Court.
The Mercado, which was purchased by Guadalupe last November, was built in 1983 with the help of HUD funds. However, over the past few years the occupancy rate has decreased and the facility itself has fallen into disrepair and is in danger of closing. About 70 percent of the space in the Mercado is currently vacant.
Guadalupe town officials will use the improved Mercado to revitalize the surrounding neighborhood, and are planning to build a new multi-purpose center next door housing the Town Hall, a youth center, a satellite campus of South Mountain Community College, a Town Museum and a childcare center.
Cuomo toured Guadalupe with Mayor Frances Osuna and Yaqui Tribal Chairman Benito Valencia to observe the town's serious housing and economic development needs first-hand, and to discuss ways to meet those needs.
The Secretary also presented a plaque to a new HUD-funded senior citizens housing facility in Guadalupe that is operated by Mercy Housing SouthWest. The property, which includes 22 units for low-income senior citizens, is the first of its kind to be developed in Guadalupe.
In addition, Cuomo visited several severely deteriorated and overcrowded homes, among them that of Arcenia Olivas, where 11 people - including her eight grandchildren - are living. The Olivas home is scheduled for demolition in the next several weeks, and the family will receive assistance from HUD and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help pay the cost of buying a new home.
A total of 32 subsidized new homes are being built for low-income families in the town over the next two years with HUD and USDA assistance. Families will contribute their own labor - "sweat equity" - to help build the homes.
Cuomo also met with some of the 20 young high school drop-outs who will learn on-site construction skills by working to help build the 32 new homes, under a $350,000 grant from HUD's Youthbuild program. The construction skills and academic skills (young people study for their high school equivalency degrees) that are taught in the Youthbuild program are designed to enable the young people to become construction workers and support themselves.
The Youthbuild participants will work alongside other young people who are helping build the 32 homes as part of Project Challenge Youth, a program for high school drop-outs funded by the Arizona National Guard.
Other participants in the homebuilding project in Guadalupe are: Centro De Amistad, Guadalupe High School, South Mountain Community College, Guadalupe Learning Center, Peer Foundation, Arizona Department of Economic Security, and the State Commission for National Service.
Guadalupe is the latest in a series of communities Cuomo is visiting around the country on a tour of places that have been left behind in the economic boom.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009