|HUD No. 00-138|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||9:30 a.m. Thursday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||June 15, 2000|
CUOMO SAYS HUD IS BUILDING A $1 BILLION
PARTNERSHIP WITH AMERICAS FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS
NEW YORK U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced today that the amount of HUD assistance administered by faith-based organizations will reach at least $1 billion next year a $200 million increase.
"Faith-based organizations are the eyes and ears, hearts and souls of the communities HUD serves," Cuomo said. "Again and again, they have proven themselves to be effective and innovative partners in HUDs efforts to expand the supply of affordable housing, create jobs, help businesses grow, and revitalize communities. In the coming year, we intend to significantly step up our partnership with these groups to help people and places left behind by the current economic boom."
The Secretary made the announcement at a HUD-sponsored conference "Faith Communities and Community Building" at Riverside Church in New York City.
The conference brought together about 600 members of the clergy and the leaders of faith-based and not-for-profit organizations from throughout the Northeast primarily New York State, New Jersey and Connecticut to learn more about how HUD can help them meet housing, community and economic development needs in their communities.
Cuomo also announced two new initiatives one to increase the utilization of Section 8 rental assistance vouchers and the other to equip inner city workers with the skills necessary to bridge the digital divide that will further increase the role of faith-based organizations in HUDs work. The initiatives are:
PARTNERSHIP DEVELOPMENT GRANTS
Cuomo said that HUD will award $10 million in "partnership development" grants in at least 20 cities to enlist faith-based organizations to help families find and keep housing, using Section 8 rental assistance vouchers. Special attention will be given to groups working with families being relocated as a result of HUDs efforts to demolish and replace dilapidated public housing.
The Secretarys initiative is based in part on the conclusions of the 4th annual State of the Cities report issued by HUD earlier this week at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Seattle. The report found that the booming economy has driven up home purchase prices and rents beyond the rate of inflation, putting added pressure on the record 5.4 million American families without affordable housing. .
"The rising economic tide has lifted the price of housing, sinking the efforts by some families to find housing they can afford," Cuomo said. "Though the resources allocated to HUD by Congress are far from sufficient to meet the needs of all these families, we are fully committed to insuring that the Section 8 vouchers we do have are as fully-utilized as possible. Who better to help families find housing or to enlist landlords in providing housing than the faith-based organizations who sit at the very heart of our communities?"
The partnership development grants will be awarded competitively under HUDs annual Super NOFA awards process, which will commence early next year.
The grants will be used to: 1) Familiarize faith-based organizations with rules and regulations governing the Section 8 rental assistance program. 2) Enable the organizations to promote HUDs Fair Housing goals. 3) In consultation with local housing authorities, provide rental and homeownership counseling to families with vouchers. 4) Encourage landlords to rent housing units to Section 8 families.
Particular attention will be paid to organizations that are working with families who are using Section 8 vouchers to relocate from public housing complexes that are being transformed by HUDs HOPE VI revitalization program.
The Secretary also announced that a major faith-based organization, Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI), will open one of the nations first ten community-based Cisco Networking Academy sites later this fall. The academy will train some 120 at-risk young people from 16 to 25 to be cyber-ready, willing and able to compete in the information age.
Traditionally, CISCO academies have been located in schools. HUD, CISCO and Communities in Schools have agreed to open 10 academies in non-traditional sites like public and HUD-assisted housing complexes, Empowerment Zones and HUD Neighborhood Network Centers. The idea was first proposed during President Clintons recent New Markets Tour."
"In these cyber-times, the cyber-ready will succeed," said Cuomo. "A recent HUD study found that while high-tech industries are growing in our central cities, that growth is not keeping pace with whats happening in the suburbs because of a shortage of skilled workers.. The partnership we are announcing today will start to close that skills gap, helping make sure that our central cities have a workforce ready, willing and able to compete in the cyber-economy."
HUDs "State of the Cities" report, which surveyed 114 major metropolitan areas, found that some 600,000 high-tech jobs had been created in American cities between 1992 and 1997. However, 900,000 high-tech jobs were created in the suburbs during the same period.
HCCI is an organization of comprised of 80 congregations in the Harlem community that, since its founding in 1986 as part of the Bradhurst Revitalization Plan, has developed more than 1,300 units of affordable housing and is the recipient of a 1998 HUD Safe Neighborhoods Grant.
Its CISCO networking academy will be located at 210 West 146th Street in Manhattan, in an HCCI-owned, HUD-assisted multi-family housing complex. It is part of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone.
The building currently is being wired and is expected to be ready for its first classes in September 2000. Computer equipment for the academy is being donated by Technical Careers Institute, a local technical college.
The academy will offer two classes each year,
targeted to young people between the ages of 16 and 25. Each participant
will receive at least 280 hours of information technology training.