October 14, 2004
HUD AWARDS $3.5 MILLION IN GRANTS TO FLORIDA SEMINOLE TRIBE, FT. LAUDERDALE HOUSING AUTHORITY
Funding Goes to Increase Homeownership in Indian Country, Improve Communities
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary Michael Liu announced $3,537,568 in grants to the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Ft. Lauderdale Housing Authority. In making the announcements today, Liu said this is an investment in the future of both entities.
- The Seminole Tribe of Florida will receive a $2,840,593 Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) that will be used to promote affordable housing.
- The Housing Authority of the City of Ft. Lauderdale will receive $690,975 in funds to demolish old, aged public housing to make way for community development. The housing authority will also get an additional $6,000 for helping local families become homeowners.
"This funding illustrates HUD's continuing commitment to provide communities with resources to meet the housing needs of their residents and improve neighborhoods," said Liu, who will be speaking at the 61 st Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indian at the Ft. Lauderdale Convention Center later today.
The Seminole Tribe will use its 2004 IHBG funds to assist tribal member families by rehabilitating their housing, providing services to promote self-sufficiency, and enhance the safety and security of housing residents.
The IHBG program allows tribes or tribally designated housing entities (TDHEs) to provide a range of affordable housing activities. The block grant approach to housing for Native Americans was enabled by the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA) of 1996. This allows Tribes to determine how best to use the funds to address specific community needs. IHBG funds may be used for affordable housing activities, including housing development, modernization, management services and operating assistance, housing counseling, crime prevention and safety, training and technical assistance.
The Seminole Tribe governs the Hollywood, Big Cypress, Brighton, Immokalee and Tampa Reservations. The reservations consist of approximately 166 square miles of land scattered throughout six Florida counties: Broward, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Hillsborough and Palm Beach.
In addition to the grants, Liu added his support to the Seminole Tribe's passage of a Tribal resolution designating the entire State of Florida as its service area for HUD's Section 184 Program. This will expand the reach of this loan guarantee program that will enable more Indian families become homeowners.
Liu, who heads up HUD's Office of Public and Indian Housing, also announced a $690,975 HUD demolition grant that will allow the Ft. Lauderdale housing authority to partially demolish t he Dixie Court public housing development. The funding will be used to demolish 78 units and relocate 73 families.
The housing authority also received $6,000 as an incentive to continue the success of its Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program (HCVH). To encourage homeownership among public housing authorities, each housing authority is provided a bonus for participation. This financial incentive from HUD will be used for administrative costs incurred by the program and to continue to promote homeownership to other residents.
The HCVH program is a component of the Housing Choice Voucher program, formerly known as Section 8. It is designed to promote and support first-time homebuyers. Under this initiative, PHAs make monthly homeownership assistance payments to help first-time homeowners with monthly expenses, instead of making monthly payments on behalf of families to assist with rent. Monthly expenses include the principal and interest on the mortgage debt, real estate taxes and insurance, and the PHA established allowances for utilities, routine maintenance, and major repairs and replacements. Like the conventional Section 8 program, homeowners pay 30 percent of their income toward their monthly mortgage payment.
Nationally, the HCVH program has helped more than 2,200 families nationwide become homeowners since it began as a pilot at 15 PHAs in the late 1990s. It was rolled out nationwide in 2001 and now more than 350 PHAs administer local programs.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet.
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