HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 00-163
Further Information: For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685 Friday
Or contact your local HUD office August 4, 2000


WASHINGTON - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded a $30.8 million grant to the District of Columbia Housing Authority that will be used to provide housing for 705 families and to demolish 1,107 deteriorated public housing apartments.

In the District, the HOPE VI grant will be used to revitalize the East Capitol Dwellings and Capitol View Plaza public housing developments. Upon completion, the grant from HUD will develop 196 public housing rental units, 214 affordable and market rate rental units, 145 affordable homeownership units and 150 affordable elderly rental units.

Cuomo made the announcement today at the Helen Foster-El Playground at East Capital Dwellings. Joining Cuomo in making the announcement were Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and Washington Mayor Anthony Williams.

"Today's awards bring us a step closer to meeting a bold pledge by the Clinton-Gore Administration to remake the nation's public housing so that every American will have a safe, clean and decent place to live," Cuomo said.

"This HOPE VI grant brings more than just hope, it brings the reality of new homeownership opportunities, new jobs, and a new future to the people of this community," Mayor Williams said. "It is an important part of our shared commitment to revitalize neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River. The District will use this grant - tens of millions of dollars leveraged against millions more from the private sector - to tear down these decaying units and build better homes and better hopes in this community."

"The HOPE VI project will not only remake and inspire different communities," Norton said, "it will help eradicate crime from a neighborhood in which a number of residents have been killed, including a grandmother.

Today's grant will ultimately attract $94.6 million in total investment to the District, a return equal to about $3.10 for every dollar invested this year in the program. In 1993, the first year of the program, the return was only 31 cents for each dollar invested.

The new development will include the use of 10.4 acres of much needed commercial/retail space abutting a METRO station. A partnership between the resident-controlled East Capital View Community Development Corp. and the Wheeler Creek Community Development Corp. will provide an array of support services to residents, including relocation assistance, healthcare, daycare, education and workforce development. Financial partners in this new development include Bank of America, Fannie Mae and Giant Food. These projects are the final components to redevelop public housing in the Anacostia section of the city.

HUD has awarded nearly $515 million this year in HOPE VI grants. The funds will be used to build or rehab more than 10,100 housing units; nearly 6,400 severely distressed units will be demolished. Cities were competitively selected based upon the effectiveness of their public housing revitalization plans. HUD policy provides local housing authorities with the flexibility to develop revitalization plans that meet their own special needs.

The city's application came from a pool of 74 that requested nearly $1.8 billion in grants. The District of Columbia Housing Authority has received a number of HOPE VI grants in recent years, including: a $25 million revitalization grant for Ellen Wilson Homes in 1993; a $20 million revitalization grant for Valley Green Skytower in 1997; a $29 million revitalization grant for Frederick Douglass Homes/Stanton Dwellings in 1999; and a $2 million demolition grant for Fort Dupont and Stoddard Terrace in 1996.

The HOPE VI grants, first awarded by HUD in 1993, have five objectives:

  • Improve public housing by demolishing severely distressed public housing projects, such as high-rises and barracks-style apartments, and replace them with townhouses or garden-style apartments that blend aesthetically into the surrounding community.
  • Reduce concentrations of poverty by encouraging a mix of incomes among public housing residents and by encouraging working families to move into housing that is part of revitalized communities.
  • Provide support services, such as education and training programs, child care services, transportation and counseling to help public housing residents get and keep jobs.
  • Establish and enforce high standards of personal and community responsibility through explicit lease requirements.
  • Forge partnerships that involve public housing residents, state and local government officials, the private sector, non-profit groups and the community-at-large in planning and implementing new communities.

As part of today's award, HUD will pay temporary relocation costs for residents whose apartments are being demolished. Relocated residents who meet program requirements will be given the first opportunity to move back to the newly constructed units at the site. Alternatively, if residents choose not to return to public housing, they will be given vouchers to subsidize their rents in privately owned apartments. In addition, relocated residents receiving vouchers will be provided with the same job training and services offered to people living in replacement public housing.

All newly constructed units must conform to HUD guidelines for Healthy Homes. This initiative ensures that safeguards are in place to protect residents from hazards caused by lead, fire, carbon monoxide and radon.

The HOPE VI program was created as a result of a report by the National Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing, which found nearly 100,000 units of "severely distressed" public housing in the U.S.

More than 50,000 units of distressed public housing have been approved for demolition and 39,000 new public housing units are being created as a result of the program.

About 2.7 million people live in the nation's 1.3 million public housing units. Nearly half of the units are home to families with children, 32 percent have senior citizens, and 17 percent are home to people with disabilities. The median annual income of households in public housing is $9,777.


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