|HUD No. 00-171|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Wednesday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||July 26, 2000|
HUD AWARDS $35 MILLION GRANT TO CAMDEN, NJ TO TRANSFORM PUBLIC HOUSING, HELP RESIDENTS
WASHINGTON U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded a $35 million grant to Housing Authority of the City of Camden that will be used to provide housing for 523 families and to demolish 511 deteriorated public housing apartments.
In Camden, the HOPE VI grant will be used to revitalize the Westfield Acres Public Housing Development in East Camden. Upon completion, the grant from HUD will develop 270 public housing rental units, 30 tax-credit affordable rental units, and 233 affordable home ownership units. The HUD grant will also be used to develop a 12,000 square foot community center and will be leveraged to help develop a 19,000 square foot commercial center.
Todays grant will ultimately attract $54.6 million in total investment to Camden, a return equal to about $1.60 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 HOPE VI Revitalization grants being awarded now will total nearly $515 million.
"Todays awards bring us a step closer to meeting a bold pledge by the Clinton-Gore Administration to remake the nations public housing so that every American will have a safe, clean and decent place to live," Cuomo said during a telephone conference call with Rep. Robert Andrews. "I am pleased that Camden will be receiving this HOPE VI grant," said Sen. Frank Lautenberg. "These funds will transform the face of public housing, provide new opportunities for homeownership, and help Camden residents continue their efforts to revitalize the city." Rep. Andrews, noting the leadership of Cuomo and the Administration said, "This grant is the result of the fiscal discipline that the Clinton Administration has bought to government."
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 todays awards, 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.
Camdens application came from a pool of 74 that requested nearly $1.8 billion in 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 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.
From 1993-99, HUD awarded 131 revitalization grants totaling $3.5 billion. 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 nations 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 these households is $9,777.