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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 99-59
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Wednesday
Or contact your local HUD officeApril 7, 1999


WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo issued the following statement on a report issued today that says millions of American children are exposed to health hazards in substandard housing:

"With today's release of There's No Place Like Home, Boston Medical Center and Housing America add their voices to the all-important discussion of how we protect our children by ensuring that they grow up in safe, decent and affordable housing.

Building on the Waiting in Vain study we issued last month, this new report confirms our warning that there is an affordable housing crisis in this country and further, its human impact is unacceptable. When 4.5 million children go home every night to a place which could expose them to lead poisoning or increase their risk of asthma, we have to do better. When millions of families have to choose between paying the rent or feeding their children, we have to do better. When the lack of affordable housing becomes literally a matter of life and death for our children, we have to do better.

HUD has long argued that this is about much more than a crisis of affordable housing, it's about a crisis for our children. In other words, the quality of our housing is directly related to the quality of our children's lives. At HUD, we have taken action to ensure that at home, a child is safe.

Last year, I announced our Healthy Homes campaign, an all-out effort, including Public Service announcements by Bob Vila and Tim Allen, to alert families to the potentially deadly hidden dangers in their homes.

For the first time in its history, HUD has begun physically inspecting every single property in our portfolio so we can identify unsafe or unsanitary living conditions and then act to improve them. We have also committed more than $500 million to lead hazard control since President Clinton took office.

Finally, and perhaps most important, last year President Clinton and Vice President Gore won the first increase in housing vouchers since the mid-1990's, and this year have put forth a budget proposal for HUD that calls for a $2.5 billion increase, including 100,000 new housing vouchers. I ask for all of your support: let's do right by our children and pass this budget.

The affordable housing crisis and the tragic impact it has on our nation's children is real. But we can change it. The economy is stronger than ever. The deficit excuse is gone. Now is the time."


The Department of Housing and Urban Development's proposed $28 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2000 - $2.5 billion above the current budget - calls for initiatives to increase the supply of affordable housing and eliminate dangers in homes that threaten the health and safety of America's children.

The initiatives include:

  • Creation of 100,000 new rental assistance vouchers to provide safe and affordable housing for families in need.

  • Steps under the HOME Program to stimulate the creation of about 84,000 affordable housing units.

  • Replacement of severely deteriorated and unsafe public housing under the HOPE VI Program.

  • The first HUD inspections of all public and HUD-assisted housing to identify unsafe living conditions so housing can be made safe.

  • More than $500 million in grants for lead hazard control in privately owned housing, plus millions of dollars more for the same purpose in public and other federally assisted housing, since President Clinton took office.

  • HUD's Healthy Homes Initiative to reduce childhood diseases and injuries caused by substandard housing, including: poisoning caused by lead-based paint; asthma and other lung diseases; carbon monoxide poisoning; and fire injuries.

Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced the Healthy Homes initiative last year. It is using TV commercials with Bob Vila, newspaper ads, millions of brochures and a toll-free information line to help parents protect their children from potentially deadly hidden dangers in their homes. The dangers associated with lead poisoning and many other health and safety hazards are described in a brochure and other information available by calling 1-800-HUDS-FHA.

In addition, HUD and the Environmental Protection Agency jointly fund a toll-free phone line at 1-800-424-LEAD. This gives callers information in English and Spanish about lead hazards and about disclosure requirements for people selling and renting homes. Information is also available on HUD's web site at www.hud.gov/

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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