In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685
Or contact your local HUD office
April 27, 2001
FIRST 100 DAYS: HUD SECRETARY MEL MARTINEZ ON COURSE FOR MANAGEMENT AND HOMEOWNERSHIP IMPROVEMENTS
WASHINGTON - In this administration's first 100 days, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez kept his promise to focus on home ownership while also bringing sound management to the agency.
"During my confirmation hearing, I outlined my plans to promote home ownership and to make HUD work better for our communities," said Martinez. "I am confident our track record over the past 100 days reflects our sincere commitment to do just that."
In only a little over three months, Martinez proposed a 6.8 percent budget increase that will expand homeownership opportunities and for the first time in nine years, he raised multifamily loan limits by 25 percent, to spur construction.
Martinez has also been extremely responsive to the nation's immediate needs, earmarking $105 million to help pay skyrocketing utility bills for public housing residents and expediting federal assistance to communities in Washington State following the devastating earthquake in March.
Martinez also sent a message about the direction of management by immediately suspending the Officer and Teacher Next Door Program after discovering loopholes which could lead to fraud. Martinez suspended the program and ordered a comprehensive review.
"Give us a chance to get a little farther down the road and I think people will easily be able to see a smarter, more responsive, effective housing agency," said Martinez.
SECRETARY MEL MARTINEZ
HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
100 DAY ACCOMPLISHMENTS
- First FHA increase in nine years
- FHA Loan Limit Increase
The budget expands the availability of multifamily financing by increasing loan limits for FHA multi-family insurance by 25%, the first increase since 1992. A 25% increase, when combined with the existing ability to multiply loan limits by up to 240%, will mean that FHA multifamily insurance will be available to help increase production in virtually every region of the country.
- Hybrid Adjustable Rate Mortgages
For FY 2002, HUD will seek authority to allow FHA to offer families a hybrid adjustable rate mortgage, reducing families' initial homeownership costs by combining a low fixed rate in the early years with a rate that later adjusts with the market.
- Emergency funds made available by HUD to help pay skyrocketing utility
bills for public housing residents
- HUD has earmarked an additional $105 million for immediate assistance to help residents and public housing authorities, to help pay for the skyrocketing utility costs.
- HUD speeds assistance and disaster services to earthquake victims in
- The FHA helped families recover by providing mortgage insurance and rehabilitation assistance. HUD also helped relocate displaced families and individuals receiving Section 8 rental assistance. Local public housing agencies were able to apply for emergency relief through HUD's Public Housing Reserve Fund for Emergencies and Disasters to help repair or rebuild damaged public housing properties.
- HUD awards $3 million in grants to assist low-income graduate students
- HUD will provide grants of $3 million to colleges and universities to assist low-income graduate students preparing for careers in community planning and development.
- Temporary Halt to Officer Teacher Next Door Program
- HUD Temporarily halts the sale of discounted homes to officers and
In coordination with the National Fraternal Order of Police, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, HUD imposed a 120 day suspension of home sales under its Officer Next Door and Teacher Next Door programs after uncovering numerous instances of fraud by homebuyers. The Secretary directed senior HUD officials to review the programs' guidelines and make whatever changes are necessary to ensure that these well-intended programs do what they were designed to do.
- HUD announces $111 million loan sale
- HUD will sell nearly 6,000 loans, totaling $111 million under HUD's Section 312 Rehabilitation Loan Program
- Signing of the Fair Housing Pledge
- Attorney General Ashcroft joined Secretary Martinez, here in our building, to sign the Fair Housing Pledge marking the 33rd Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. In doing so they both pledge to fight housing discrimination.
- Established The Colonias Task Force
- The Secretary appointed a HUD task force to make HUD programs work in the Colonias areas of the United States ( i.e. the 5 states that border Mexico). As part of this task force HUD is in the process of establishing the Colonias Gateway Initiative to streamline and optimize community access to technical assistance and investment capital provided by HUD, other government agencies, and national and regional non-profit participants.
- Eliminate Lead Based Paint Hazards
- 10 million increase to reduce lead paint hazards.
The budget provides an additional $10 million for a total of $110 million that together with increased private sector leveraging supports a ten-year strategy to eliminate lead paint hazards in 2.3 million private housing units occupied by low-income children.
- Lead-Safe Training
- HUD Offers Free Lead-Safe Training to Thousands of Workers
In an effort to help hundreds of communities comply with the nation's new lead safe housing rule, HUD is offering 200 free lead safety courses to thousands of maintenance workers and contractors in over 100 cities where there may be insufficient numbers of workers trained in lead-safe work practices. HUD is also providing scholarships for approximately 2000 lead sampling or clearance technicians. The scholarships are available through 72 accredited providers that HUD has trained to offer the course. Sampling technicians perform clearance examinations after activities that disturb lead pain to ensure that fine particles of lead in dust have been properly cleaned up.
- Training of Public Housing Residents
- HUD and the National Low Income Housing Coalition have joined to provide training for public housing residents. The training will educate over 2,000 residents about the laws and regulations that affect their daily lives. This will enable residents to become more effective advocates and empower them in seeking the resources they need.
- Budget Increase
- The FY 2002 budget increases HUD's budget authority to $30.4 billion, $1.9 billion or 6.8 percent over the 2001 enacted level.
- $200 million Presidential initiative to support the American Dream
Down Payment Fund.
The fund will provide $200 million within the HOME program to match down payment assistance and help more than 130,000 low-income families overcome their greatest obstacle to homeownership.
- $1.7 billion for a homeownership tax credit.
To further promote homeownership opportunities, the Administration included a tax credit to spur development of affordable housing in distressed communities. Funded at $1.7 billion over five years, the program will be administered by the states and result in the rehabilitation or construction of 100,000 homes.
- $80 million Presidential initiative for Community Technology Centers.
The budget provides $80 million in the Community Development Block Grant program to fund grants to help communities create or expand technology centers in high poverty areas and provide technical assistance to those centers.
- $150 million increase for Public Housing operating subsidies.
The President's budget funds the Public Housing Operating Fund at $3.385 billion, or $150 million more than 2001, to help public housing authorities cover utility rate increases and other increased expenses.
- $197 million increase for 34,000 additional Section 8 housing vouchers.
The President's budget renews all expiring contracts at a cost of $15.1 billion to continue rental assistance to over 2.8 million families currently receiving Section 8 assistance and includes $197 million for 34,000 new housing vouchers.
- $20 million increase to house 3,700 additional people with AIDS.
The budget provides an additional $20 million for a total of $277 million to house 3,700 more people with AIDS, expanding the number of eligible jurisdictions based on projections of AIDS cases by the Centers for Disease Control.
- $20 million Presidential initiative to improve access for the disabled.
The budget provides $20 million in the Community Development Block Grant to fund competitive grants to ADA-exempt civic, community, and religiously affiliated organizations to make approximately 200 additional facilities accessible to the disabled.
- Individual Development Account (IDA) Tax Credit.
The budget proposes legislation to create one million new IDAs through a tax incentive. Financial institutions will receive a federal tax credit for matching the contributions made to IDAs by low- to moderate-income individuals saving to buy a first home, start a business, or pay for education.
- $100 million increase in FHA GI/SRI receipts.
The budget proposes that FHA introduce an upfront premium for the condominium and single-family rehabilitation loan programs that is identical to FHA's other single-family programs. This will improve the financial health of these programs.
- The President's budget also commits to reform HUD management and
programs on GAO's high-risk list.
HUD will continue to reform the Section 8 program by taking steps to improve the utilization of vouchers. HUD also will improve the administration of rental assistance programs by: reducing the reserves of local public housing authorities from two months to one month, helping to decrease the accumulation of unspent balances; and developing a series of reforms to reduce overpayments for rent subsidies. HUD will reduce FHA fraud and improve program controls by improving the loan origination process and providing better monitoring of lenders and appraisers.