|HUD No. 00-83|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||9 a.m. CDT Tuesday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||April 25, 2000|
HUD HEADQUARTERS RELOCATES TO HOUSTON FOR A DAY AS CUOMO ANNOUNCES MORE THAN $70 MILLION IN GRANTSView Details of HUD Assistance for Houston
HOUSTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo and senior HUD officials today relocated the Department's headquarters to Houston, Texas for a day to strengthen HUD's successful partnership with the city, and announced more than $70 million in grants.
Cuomo was joined by Mayor Lee Brown, and U.S. Representatives Gene Green, Ken Bentsen and Sheila Jackson Lee at a series of HUD For A Day events designed to give top HUD officials a better understanding of the needs of Houston so HUD can do more to help create jobs, spur economic development and expand the supply of affordable housing in the city.
"Mayor Brown is doing an outstanding job serving Houston and its people, and I appreciate the opportunity to see first-hand what he's accomplished," Cuomo said. "I've brought the top leadership of HUD here because the best way to understand Houston and its needs is to come here. The knowledge we gain today will help us to do a better job working with Houston to bring a new prosperity to this city and its people."
Cuomo - who last week joined President Clinton in spotlighting the need to provide computers and the skills to use them to low-income people and communities - today announced a public/private partnership to accomplish this in Houston. Cuomo said HUD will provide a $1 million grant for the Community Technology Initiative in Houston's enhanced Enterprise Community.
In addition to the HUD assistance for the computer project, the Community Technology Initiative will be aided by: 1) $80,000 in cash from local banks. 2) $40,000 in in-kind assistance from the Houston Chronicle. 3) $15,000 discount off the usual installation charge for computer equipment from International E-Commerce. 4) $30,000 in in-kind technical assistance by the Houston Office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). 5) Assistance from the AT&T Foundation and the United Way to help Houston apply for a $300,000 grant from AT&T and a $100,000 grant from the United Way.
The public/private partnership will provide neighborhood residents with access to the Internet as a welfare-to-work training tool and an employment search tool.
"I am pleased that Secretary Cuomo has accepted my invitation to come to Houston," said Mayor Brown. "This is a great opportunity to showcase what we are doing and to learn how we can strengthen our partnership with HUD. I appreciate the investment that HUD has made and will continue to make in our community."
"I am pleased that Secretary Cuomo is beginning his day in Houston in our Congressional District," said Congressman Green. "HUD is a vital agency in our District from the East End of Houston to the Greenspoint Aldine area in North Houston that provides important housing services."
"We expect that Secretary Cuomo's visit to Houston will help give HUD officials a better understanding of the affordable housing needs of our communities," Congressman Bentsen said. "This trip is a good way to strengthen our local partnerships with HUD."
"I am pleased that Secretary Cuomo has accepted our invitation to come to Houston and to visit Houston's neighborhoods which show how real public and private partnerships work," said Congresswoman Jackson Lee. "Secretary Cuomo's visit is the shot in the arm that will strengthen our working relationship with HUD."
In addition to the $1 million grant for the Community Technology Initiative of the Houston Enhanced Enterprise Community, Cuomo announced (see attachment for details):
- A Consolidated Action Plan grant of $55.2 million to Houston. This is a grant Houston gets each year for a broad range of housing and community development programs.
- A $13.1 million Continuum of Care grant to Houston/Harris County for assistance to homeless people.
- A $400,000 grant to the National Fair Housing Alliance to establish the Greater Houston Fair Housing Center to fight housing discrimination.
- A $238,000 Drug Elimination Grant to fight crime and drug abuse at Cleme Manor Apartments, a public housing development.
- Two grants totaling $389,000 to build computer centers at HUD-assisted and/or -insured housing complexes.
- A commitment by the Federal Housing Administration to insure mortgages totaling $3.5 billion over five years in the Houston area.
- A pilot project to educate recent immigrants about their fair housing rights.
- A $35,000 grant for Community Development Corporation Association of Houston to design and conduct a workshop on community economic development for Houston-area Community Development Corporations.
- A $35,750 grant for a gun buyback program.
Today's visit was the 12th HUD For A Day that Cuomo has held around the nation since becoming Secretary in 1997.
HUD officials joining Cuomo for the day included: Assistant Secretary for Housing/Federal Housing Commissioner William Apgar; Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development Cardell Cooper; Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Harold Lucas; General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Amy Wilkinson; and Special Assistant for Community and Interfaith Outreach Father Joseph Hacala.
Cuomo and the other HUD officials began the day by meeting with representatives of community and business groups for a roundtable discussion at the George I. Sanchez High School. Cuomo and the HUD officials then went their separate ways, to visit sites throughout Houston.
Cuomo joined Mayor Brown and Congressman Bentsen for an event at Corinthian Pointe to celebrate "Building Homes in America's Cities." Vice President Al Gore, Secretary Cuomo, and representatives from the National Association of Home Builders joined together in 1999 to launch "Building Homes in America's Cities" with the goal of building 1 million new homes in urban centers and inner-ring suburbs over the next 10 years to stem the tide of suburban sprawl and increase homeownership. Houston is one of four pilot cities.
At Corinthian Point, located in Southwest Houston, Rev. Kirbyjon Caldell is using HUD funds along with local public and private investment to build 450 single-family homes. One-third of the units will be sold to families who earn less than 80 percent Houston's media income.
Cuomo also visited Pleasant Hill Senior Citizen Complex in Houston's historic 5th Ward with Mayor Brown and Congresswoman Jackson Lee for a celebration of HUD's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The 5th Ward is an example of the rebirth that can occur when flexible federal funding programs such as CDBG are used with other public and private funds: business is booming and people are buying homes and moving back into the neighborhood.
When desegregation opened up more of the cities neighborhoods, many high-income residents of the 5th Ward left and took the tax base with them.
While in the 5th Ward, Cuomo, Mayor Brown and Congresswoman Jackson Lee broke ground for Brittons Place Apartments, a 48-unit multifamily affordable housing development.
Cuomo also toured Acres Homes, in the 4th Ward, with Mayor Brown and Congresswoman Jackson Lee, before returning to preside at a closing roundtable session at the Urban League.
DETAILS OF HUD ASSISTANCE FOR HOUSTON
Here are details of the assistance that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced for Houston during his HUD For A Day visit on Tuesday.
- A $1 million grant for the Community Technology Initiative of the Houston Enhanced Enterprise Community. This grant will fund business opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents to cultivate new markets. This initiative is comprised of: the EEC Corridor Vitual Reality Tour - utilizes emerging 3D architectural and design software to target private- and public-sector partnerships; EEC "Interactive TV" - provides neighborhood residents with access to the Internet as a welfare to work training aid and employment search tool; and Individual Development Accounts - funds accounts so families can save for homeownership, education, job training, or investment in their own business.
- Consolidated Action Plan grant of $55.2 million to Houston. The grant will fund emergency home repairs and multifamily rental units rehabilitation; parks, libraries and neighborhood centers; assistance for the homeless and people with HIV/AIDS; daycare for children and juvenile delinquency prevention; economic development and job creation, and infrastructure improvements to provide a better living environment for Houston's low- and moderate-income families. This is funding for activities that Houston will propose in its FY 2000 Consolidated Plan, which HUD expects to approve this summer.
- A $13.1 million Continuum of Care grant to Houston/Harris County. This grant is funding more than 20 organizations that are part of a communitywide plan to deliver housing and services to meet the specific needs of people who are homeless as they move to stable housing and self-sufficiency.
- A $400,000 grant to the National Fair Housing Alliance to establish the Greater Houston Fair Housing Center. This grant funds the first fair housing services in Houston. The Center opened its doors on November 1, 1999 and provides service to the three million people who live in the City and the surrounding area. Services include: helping people file housing discrimination claims; educating people about their fair housing rights; and specific outreach to underserved communities.
- A $238,000 Drug Elimination Grant for Cleme Manor Apartments. This grant will be used to support efforts by the owner of this HUD-assisted apartment building to eliminate drug-related crime and drug abuse on the property, ranging from increased security measures to educational and recreational programs.
- Two grants totaling $389,000 to build computer centers at HUD-assisted and/or -insured housing complexes. Construction at the Neighborhood Network Center at Gulf Coast Arms Apartments, utilizing $300,000 from HUD, will begin in the next few months. The Neighborhood Network Center at William Booth Garden Apartments opened in January and received $89,000 from HUD. There are more than 500 Neighborhood Networks operating nationwide. There are 15 Neighborhood Networks already in the Houston area. A plaque of appreciation was presented to Lt. Colonel Michael Anderson, who served on the eighth Shuttle-Mir docking mission, for his work on a partnership between NASA and HUD's Neighborhood Networks that's bringing science and math to life for children.
- A pilot project to educate recent immigrants about their fair housing rights. Houston will be one of three cities to receive classroom materials-posters, brochures, fotonovellas, and teacher guides-for use in English as a Second Language classes. Materials will be in both Spanish and English. HUD research shows 50 percent of housing discrimination cases in immigrant communities go unreported.
- A $35,000 grant for Community Development Corporation Association of Houston to design and conduct a workshop on community economic development for Houston-area Community Development Corporations. The workshop will provide participants with an understanding of public and private financing and ideas for increasing the local housing stock.
- A $35,750 grant for a gun buyback program. The Houston Housing Authority will work with the City of Houston Police Department to take approximately 1,000 guns off the street and out of people's homes. A $100 merchandise gift certificate will be given out in exchange for a gun, up to three guns per person. The Houston Housing Authority will use the HUD grant to leverage an additional $25,000 from the community.
- A commitment by FHA to insure mortgages totaling $3.5 billion over five years in the Houston area. FHA mortgage insurance helps families qualify for mortgages they need to become homeowners. Without the insurance, many families would be locked out of homeownership.