November 17, 2004
JACKSON TO HONOR LOCAL COMMUNITIES THAT REDUCE REGULATORY BARRIERS TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Affordable Communities Awards build on Bush proposal for Opportunity Zones
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today announced a prestigious new national awards program designed to recognize local governments for reducing regulatory barriers to affordable housing. HUD is accepting nominations and intends to recognize 10 local governments for their outstanding work to encourage the production of homes affordable to working families.
The Affordable Communities Awards Program builds on President Bush's proposed Opportunity Zone Initiative to create more jobs and expand homeownership opportunities for lower income families living in transitioning communities.
"It's important to recognize and reward communities that assume a leadership role to encourage the production of affordable housing," said Jackson. "Across this great nation, local communities are removing barriers to affordable housing and opening more doors to homeownership for hard working families."
Interested individuals or groups may nominate either a State or local government that has demonstrated extraordinary achievements in eliminating regulatory barriers to housing affordability. State and local governments may also nominate themselves or other local units of government for awards. Submissions will be evaluated and selected by a diverse group of senior-level HUD staff that comprise the Department's Affordable Communities Initiative Team. Applications for the 2005 Affordable Communities Awards must be postmarked no later than March 15, 2005. For a detailed description of the nomination and selection process, visit /initiatives/affordablecommunities/index.cfm.
President Bush's proposed Opportunity Zone Initiative recognizes that a strong partnership between the federal government and local communities is needed to overcome barriers that prevent working families from owning a home of their own. In addition, to help more Americans achieve the American dream of owning their own home, President Bush set a new public-private goal of increasing the supply of affordable housing by seven million over the next 10 years.
What is a regulatory barrier?
Regulatory barriers are public statutes, ordinances, regulations, fees, processes and procedures that significantly restrict the development of affordable housing without providing a commensurate health or safety benefit. These barriers can effectively exclude working individuals such as teachers, police officers, firefighters, nurses and returning veterans from living in the communities where they work. In addition, senior citizens often find it extremely to find suitable housing near their adult children while young families likewise face difficulties in finding a home in the communities where they were raised. Local communities interested in sharing innovative strategies to overcome regulatory barriers to affordable housing can visit http://www.huduser.org/portal/rbc.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and 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 and espanol.hud.gov.
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