HUD No. 07-113
Amy Cantu (HUD)
Casey Ruberg (Education)
August 7, 2007
EDUCATION AND HUD SECRETARIES VISIT MEMPHIS SCHOOL AND HOUSING DEVELOPMENT
Discuss how a child's first classroom is the home; encourage homeownership
MEMPHIS - Today, two members of President Bush's Cabinet were in Memphis to highlight the positive effects a stable home environment has on children in the classroom. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings joined Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson to tour a local school and HOPE VI housing development at Uptown Memphis.
"By providing children with a quality education, we prepare them to make a difference in their communities," said Secretary Spellings. "No Child Left Behind is a commitment to fight 'the soft bigotry of low expectations' by strengthening schools and closing the achievement gap."
Humes Middle School has made strides in recent years to significantly improve reading and math scores between 2004 and 2006, and preliminary data released yesterday shows 128 Memphis schools are meeting standards. In the last year, five Memphis schools were removed from Tennessee's "high priority" list because of their improvement.
No Child Left Behind has helped grant families access to free tutoring services and public school choice in Memphis and throughout Tennessee.
Following their visit to Humes Middle School, both officials toured the home of Bobbie Wallace, a resident at Uptown Memphis. Ms. Wallace used federal housing programs to transition from public housing, to a HOPE VI apartment complex and then into her own home.
"Bobbie's journey from public housing to rental housing and now to a home is proof of what we say at HUD: with good money management and sound spending habits, families of all income levels can take part in the American Dream and become homeowners," said Secretary Jackson.
Uptown was awarded a $35 million HOPE VI grant in 2001, and has leveraged $60 million in private funding. Once complete, 926-units of affordable housing will be available to local families.
The HOPE VI program serves a vital role in the Department of Housing and Urban Development's efforts to transform Public Housing. For 15 years, HOPE VI has been HUD's primary vehicle for redeveloping substandard public housing and moving residents to mixed-income and market-based communities. The program has helped communities attract private development and break up concentrations of poverty.
The specific elements of public housing transformation that have proven key to HOPE VI include:
- Changing the physical shape of public housing;
- Establishing positive incentives for resident self-sufficiency and comprehensive services that empower residents;
- Lessening concentrations of poverty by placing public housing in nonpoverty neighborhoods and promoting mixed-income communities; and
- Forging partnerships with other agencies, local governments, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses to leverage support and resources.
"We believe that excellence transcends income level," said Jackson. "A good education should not be off limits to a family of modest means. Neither should a good home."
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.