|HUD No. 00-103|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Monday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||May 15, 2000|
CUOMO ANNOUNCES HOUSING ADVISORY SERVICES FOR APPALACHIA
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced the availability of up to $1 million worth of advisory services to help communities in the distressed counties of Appalachia with the design, building and expansion of affordable housing.
The advisory services, known as technical assistance, will be made available to local governments and affordable housing providers, as well as organizations participating in HUD's Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program. Training opportunities include assistance with the Community Housing Development Organization certification, construction management, architectural consulting, and other forms of assistance.
"Despite the nation's booming economy, 5.4 million American families are in desperate need of safe, affordable housing," Cuomo said. "This new assistance to communities in Appalachia will help them find ways to address this need."
The new technical assistance is a direct response to the input received from government and community leaders during the historic Appalachian Summit, held last August in Ashland, KY and Huntington, WV. The first-of-its-kind intergovernmental Summit convened by HUD brought together over 800 political, business, and non-profit leaders from the federal, state, and local levels to intensify efforts to address regional problems. Co-sponsors of the event included the Departments of Agriculture, Labor and Transportation; the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC); Governor Cecil Underwood of West Virginia; and Governor Paul Patton of Kentucky.
"This assistance will be instrumental in building the capacity of community and faith-based organizations in West Virginia and the region, and in empowering them to move from a vision to actual implementation in the provision of affordable housing," said Underwood, who is also also federal Co-chair of the ARC. Underwood was meeting today with Father Joseph R. Hacala, a Special Assistant to Cuomo and a Charleston native, to discuss the new assistance.
Hacala, who also directs HUD's Center for Community and Interfaith Partnerships, was also meeting today with Kentucky Governor Paul Patton. Patton said: "Last summer's summit was an important first step to outline the problems facing the region and to identify strategies to address those problems. This new assistance represents targeted follow-up to that Summit which will produce tangible results for our state in the form of new affordable housing."
In implementing this technical assistance, HUD plans to work closely in collaboration with the Appalachian Regional Commission, state and local governments in the region, community and faith-based non-profits and housing providers.
"Government can not do this alone. Community and faith-based organizations can not do this alone," Cuomo said. "But together, by combining our strategies, resources and commitment, we can build communities of opportunity and bring economic and social justice to our nation's poorest neighborhoods."
According to Jesse L. White, Jr., ARC Federal Co-Chairman: "The ARC is currently developing a broad-based program for our distressed counties that will lead to greater self-sufficiency and an improved quality of life. We welcome this opportunity to partner with HUD in working specifically to help meet the critical housing needs in our region."
The initiative will have four basic components: outreach, direct assistance and training, a summit, and the ongoing provision of follow-up materials. The outreach will take place through community forums and other targeted efforts to educate the affordable housing community and local governments regarding the new resources available and to encourage participation by new groups.
The majority of the money will be spent on direct one-on-one assistance to participating organizations to assist them in developing and implementing their programs. There will also be a Summit to convene participating organizations and others providing affordable housing and further provide them with the information, tools, and networking opportunities necessary to produce results. Finally, materials will be developed and distributed to keep participating organizations abreast of new designs, resources, strategies, best practices and partnership opportunities.