|HUD No. 00-189|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Tuesday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||August 1, 2000|
HUD AWARDS $9 MILLION GRANT TO MERCER COUNTY, PA TO TRANSFORM PUBLIC HOUSING, HELP RESIDENTS
WASHINGTON – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded a $9 million grant to the Mercer County Housing Authority that will be used to provide housing for 135 families and to demolish 100 deteriorated public housing apartments.
In MERCER COUNTY, the HOPE VI grant will be used to revitalize the Steel City Terrace Extension. Upon completion, the grant from HUD will develop 74 public housing rental units, 35 affordable rental units and 26 homeownership units.
The HUD grant will also be used as leverage for funding to redevelop underutilized industrial land and make improvements to the Park’s primary thoroughfare. 2,000 jobs will be created. Community and Supportive Services plan to provide education, job training, leadership training, homeownership counseling and other services.
Today’s grant will ultimately attract $15.5 million in total investment to Mercer County, a return equal to about $1.70 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.
"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.
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 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.
Mercer County’s 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 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.