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October 25, 2001
HUD AWARDS $27 MILLION GRANT TO HAGERSTOWN, MD TO TRANSFORM PUBLIC HOUSING, HELP RESIDENTS
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded a $27 million HOPE VI grant to the Housing Authority of the City of Hagerstown, Md. that will be used to replace 210 older public housing units with 150 new public housing units.
In Hagerstown, the grant for Westview Homes will also develop 140 affordable rental units and 110 affordable and market rate homeownership units, creating a total of 400 housing units. This plan also includes a new recreation and resource center that will house a variety of local employment services.
"We have seen HOPE VI revitalize cities across the country and transform aging public housing units into dynamic, mixed-income communities," said HUD Secretary Mel Martinez, who made the announcement. "Hagerstown will join them in this effort to improve neighborhoods and give public housing residents the tools that lead to self-sufficiency."
Hagerstown was selected from a pool of 66 applications the agency received for the 2001 funding. Today's grant will ultimately attract $44.7 million in total investment to Hagerstown, a return equal to about $1.64 for every dollar invested this year in the program. In 1993, the first year of the HOPE VI program, the return was only 31 cents for each dollar invested.
HUD will award more than $491 million this year nationally in HOPE VI grants. The funds will be used to build or rehab more than 12,000 housing units and replace 8000 older public housing units. 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 public housing units in the U.S. in need of revitalization. The HOPE VI grants, first awarded by HUD in 1993, have five objectives:
- Improve public housing by replacing severely distressed public housing projects, such as high-rises and barracks-style apartments, 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 award, HUD will pay relocation costs for residents being temporarily relocated or displaced by the revitalization effort. 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.
Since 1993, not including this year's grants, HUD has awarded 149 HOPE VI grants to 90 cities. The program's $4 billion in awards has leveraged more than $7 billion in public and private funds.
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