|HUD No. 01-003|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Friday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||January 5, 2001|
HUD TO FUND LOCALLY DEVELOPED PUBLIC HOUSING IN MASSACHUSETTS AND NEW YORK
WASHINGTON – Following a federal court decision, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo moved quickly to announce some 7,000 locally developed public housing units in New York and 5,000 units in Massachusetts will receive federal financial support beginning this year.
Congress authorized funding for units in New York and Massachusetts in public housing legislation passed in 1998, but another provision of the same law created uncertainty about whether HUD could provide federal support. A U.S. District Court ruling in December clarified the law and authorized HUD to proceed with implementation.
“As we previously have said, there is a very real and pressing need for federal assistance in these locally developed public housing units,” said Cuomo. “Now that the court has ruled that HUD has the authority to provide such assistance, we intend to move swiftly and decisively to do so.”
Cuomo said that HUD will shortly complete and publish a notice under which housing authorities in New York and Massachusetts may apply to have their locally developed public housing units designated as part of the federal public housing system.
“I was asked by Massachusetts local housing authorities to intervene with HUD in this matter because the Authorities and the residents they serve need help in dealing with our housing crisis,” said Congressman Barney Frank (4-Mass.) “I am very appreciative that Secretary Cuomo responded so promptly and favorably to our request, a response that is consistent with the support he has given throughout his tenure at HUD.”
“It's gratifying that HUD has responded so quickly to the court decision,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass). “Massachusetts has one of the tightest housing markets in the country and this action will make urgently needed funds available to help ease the worsening crisis in affordable housing. I commend Secretary Cuomo for his leadership and his swift action.”
“I am very gratified that Secretary Cuomo has decided to quickly implement the court's decision, based on public housing legislation I helped write, to provide federal funding to public housing in Massachusetts,” said Sen. John Kerry (Mass). “Massachusetts is home to one of the tightest housing markets in the country. This funding will help alleviate this need.”
“Secretary Cuomo's announcement that HUD will provide funding for 7,000 affordable housing units located in New York is good news,” said Congressman John J. LaFalce (29-NY). “The result is that many lower-income families and senior will be protected, and the housing they live in will be preserved.”
“The shortage of affordable housing is a crisis which plagues our state and threatens the standard of living for working class Americans,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler (8-NY). “HUD's actions will bring much needed relief to housing authorities trying to overcome state budget cuts and will eventually help up to 7,000 New York families.”
“With New York rents shooting through the roof, we must make every effort to preserve the affordable housing units we already have in place,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (NY). “ I'm glad that HUD answered the call to federalize these 7,000 units so that New York families will have access to affordable housing that our housing authorities throughout the state could not afford to maintain.”
Cuomo's action implements a provision of the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act (QHWRA) that was passed in 1998 and that specifically authorized HUD to provide federal funding to locally developed public housing units in New York and Massachusetts.
Last year, HUD sent a letter to its congressional appropriators, stating that it intended to meet its obligation under QHWRA unless its appropriators objected. HUD was informed that another provision of QHRWA prohibited HUD from using any funds for federal support of these locally developed housing units and that the prohibition was intended to be permanent unless the Congress passed legislation rescinding or deleting the prohibition.
Based on this response, HUD concluded that it lacked the authority to provide funding, despite the demonstrated need. However, in response to a lawsuit filed by housing authorities in New York City, Auburn and Plattsburgh, the U.S. District Court ruled last month that HUD did have the authority and directed it to proceed with funding of these units.
It is estimated that the annual cost of including these 12,000 units in the federal system will be approximately $75 million.
Currently, there are some 1.3 million units of federally funded units of public housing across the country, 34,000 in Massachusetts and 197,000 in New York.