Prepared Remarks for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan at the Pittsburgh Prospect Terrace Press Conference with Senator Specter

Pittsburgh, PA
Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Thank you so much, Senator Specter. Let me recognize Congressman Mike Doyle, County Executive Dan Onorato, and Frank Aggazio, with the Allegheny County Housing Authority.

Thank you all for welcoming me to Prospect Terrace to see the Recovery Act in action here in Pittsburgh.

I want to thank Senator Specter. Whether it is his lifelong commitment to fair and equitable housing opportunities, his work to extend the Pittsburgh Housing Authority's Moving to Work agreement, or the recent hearing he held to highlight the plight of homeless veterans and increase support for the partnership between HUD and the VA, it's clear Senator Specter is committed to ensuring every American has a safe, decent place to call home.

But as Prospect Terrace proves, housing can also help us lay the foundation for the clean energy economy our communities need to thrive in the decades to come.

But before I talk about the promise of this development, I want to say a few words about our economy.

When President Obama signed the Recovery Act into law in February with Senator Specter's help, it was designed to do three things: help those harmed by the economic crisis, aid in our recovery, and lay a new foundation to make America competitive in the 21st century economy.

And we're seeing the results - over 600,000 jobs reported, well ahead of the pace to create 3.5 million by next year. Unemployment insurance for 12 million Americans to help them weather this economic storm. And assistance to states like Pennsylvania to help prevent police officers and teachers and firefighters from being laid off.

Of course, the Recovery Act has not only challenged communities to transform their economies - it has also challenged all of us to change the way we do business. Indeed, by collecting detailed reports from over 130,000 recipients nationwide, the Recovery Act is unquestionably the largest, most detailed and informative effort to track the progress of a government program in American history.

Long after the last Recovery Act dollar is spent, its legacy won't only be the bridges it built and jobs it creates, but just as importantly, the new platform it's creating for the transparent and public accounting of taxpayer dollars.

Like the transformation of our economy, this kind of lasting change will impact every American - but it won't happen overnight. It will require a sustained commitment from all of us, in Pittsburgh and Washington alike.

And that's why I'm so pleased to be here today. Back in March, HUD announced that $4 billion in Recovery Act Capital Funds would go to over 3,000 public housing authorities throughout the nation. Of that funding, we set aside $600 million to challenge our public housing authorities to come up with innovative ways to build more sustainable communities.

In September, we announced the winners of that competition. And I'm proud to say that we've granted $4.4 million in competitive green public housing capital funds to the Allegheny County Housing Authority - to help improve energy efficiency here at Prospect Terrace.

With these Recovery funds, the Housing Authority will be able to install new geothermal water-source heat pumps that will cut Prospect Terrace's energy costs in half. It will replace inefficient window units with central air.

Indeed, from installing new “cool” roofs, to Energy Star windows and porch lighting, to landscape vegetation that uses less water and helps prevent erosion, Prospect Terrace will be a model for green public housing.

These kinds of investments are powerful vehicles for economic recovery because they work quickly and create jobs where they are needed most, leading to lasting neighborhood benefits that save money for us all.

President Obama is committed to making green building an engine of economic growth, jobs and opportunity in communities across the country - lowering greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs and reducing our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.

Making that possible will require a new generation of professionals, not simply ready to build these technologies, but to install, repair and maintain them - mechanics, electricians, plumbers, and construction workers who will pioneer the first wave of green technologies.

With buildings accounting for 40 percent of our carbon emissions—half of which is our residential buildings—HUD, our public and assisted housing and its residents are poised to play a big role in our clean energy economy.

And so will Senator Specter. I know that he will be a key partner as a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee - ensuring we pass comprehensive climate legislation that puts America in control of our energy future, makes us more energy independent and creates jobs.

He will continue to be a strong voice for Pittsburgh families, ensuring that whatever steps forward we take as a country—whether it is housing, energy, or health care—we take together - as one people, working in common purpose.

So, thank you, Senator Specter, for this opportunity to see our partnership in action - and for this glimpse at our clean energy future here in Pittsburgh. And with that, I'd be happy to take any questions.


Content Archived: February 23, 2017