HUD No. 07-069
May 22, 2007
HUD'S DEPUTY SECRETARY STRESSES �POWER OF PARTNERSHIP� IN PREPARING FOR 2007 HURRICANE SEASON
Bernardi awards $76 million to Commonwealth and Bayamon Municipio
SAN JUAN, PR � U.S. Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Roy A. Bernardi today told hundreds of disaster planners in the Commonwealth that the federal government is ready for this year's hurricane season and stressed the importance of preparing for disaster at every level. Speaking at the Second Seminar on Disaster Relief, Bernardi joined representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Small Business Administration (SBA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to discuss how federal partnerships can support local communities with disaster planning and long-term recovery.
�The only way to respond in the face of disaster is to respond together,� said Bernardi. �The federal government will never get it done by itself and in the same way, you cannot go it alone. HUD is a critical resource once the dust has settled or the flood waters have receded. But this is not to say that we aren't poised to act even before disaster strikes.�
Bernardi discussed the ways HUD works with local communities following disasters to ensure they have the resources needed to recover and rebuild. For example, municipalities throughout Puerto Rico can use existing block grant funding, such as Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership Program grants, communities are able to jump-start their recovery efforts.
Bernardi added �CDBG and HOME funds can be used to provide housing and services for victims of disaster in your communities. These block grants offer the flexibility to redirect millions of dollars to address critical needs.�
Reaffirming HUD's commitment to helping communities get back on their feet, Bernardi stressed HUD's readiness to waive certain program requirements and cut red tape to the extent possible to expedite the repair and replacement of damaged housing and infrastructure. Additionally, Bernardi detailed how HUD assists in disasters through foreclosure moratoriums, temporary housing and shelter, and loan guarantee assistance.
Bernardi also announced the appointment of Nelson R. Breg�n, for the newly created position, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Disaster Policy and Response. �One of the lessons we've learned is that HUD must have a rapid response disaster team of senior managers always at the ready,� said Bernardi.
Following the seminar, Bernardi, along with Mayor Ram�n Luis Rivera, awarded $6.5 million in grants for Bayamon Municipio. The funding announced today includes:
- $4.7 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds;
- $1.6 million in HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) funding;
- $203,000 in Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG); and
$6.5 Million Total
On Monday, Bernardi, along with Governor Anibal Acevedo Vil�, awarded nearly $70 million in grants for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The funding announced on Monday includes:
- $48.2 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds;
- $17 million in HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) funding;
- $3.1 million in Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG); and
- $1.6 million for Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA).
$69.9 Million Total
Since 1974, HUD's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program has awarded an estimated $119 billion to state and local governments to target their own community development priorities. The rehabilitation of affordable housing and construction of public facilities and improvements have traditionally been the largest uses of the grants, although CDBG is also an important catalyst for job growth and business opportunities. CDBG funds are distributed by formula around the country based on a community's population, poverty, the age of its housing stock, and extent of overcrowded housing.
HOME (HOME Investment Partnerships Program) is the largest federal block grant to state and local governments designed exclusively to produce affordable housing for low-income families. Since 1992, 645 communities have completed more than 781,000 affordable housing units, including more than 327,000 for new homebuyers. In addition, nearly 163,000 tenants have received direct rental assistance.
The American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI) helps first-time homebuyers with the biggest hurdle to homeownership: downpayment and closing costs. The program was created to assist low-income first-time homebuyers in purchasing single-family homes by providing funds for downpayment, closing costs, and rehabilitation carried out in conjunction with the assisted home purchase. Since the program's inception, ADDI has assisted approximately 23,000 households to purchase their first home.
Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) help local communities to meet the basic shelter needs of homeless individuals and families. These grants also provide transitional housing and a variety of support services designed to move the homeless away from a life on the street toward permanent housing. This block grant program, along with more than $1 billion HUD grants awarded by competition, helps thousands of local homeless assistance programs to help those who would otherwise call the streets their home.
HUD's Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) grants are distributed based on the number of AIDS cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The grants provide rental assistance and support services to individuals with HIV/AIDS and their families. In addition, the HOPWA program also helps many communities develop strategic AIDS housing plans and fill in gaps in local systems of care. A stable home environment is a critical component for low-income persons managing complex drug therapies and potential side effects from their treatments.
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, and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov. For more information about FHA products, please visit www.fha.gov.