Prepared Remarks for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan at the Recovery Act One Year Anniversary Press Conference

Cincinnati, Ohio
Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Thank you so much, Congressman Driehaus, for the introduction. Let me also recognize Director Zurz and Dave Thompson.

It's great to be here today to celebrate the first anniversary of President Obama's Recovery Act - and see how we're creating jobs and rebuilding our economy here in Cincinnati.

When President Obama signed the Recovery Act into law a year ago yesterday, it was designed to do three things: create jobs, help those harmed by the economic crisis, and lay a new foundation to make America competitive in the 21st century economy.

But it did something else, perhaps even more important. As you heard from President Obama yesterday, it was the Recovery Act that was largely responsible for staving off a Second Great Depression.

Let's look at the facts. The Recovery Act cut taxes for 95 percent of working families - and provided senior citizens and veterans with $250 checks to help pay the bills.

It extended and increased unemployment insurance for 12 million Americans and made COBRA available at a cheaper rate for people who had lost their jobs so they could keep their health care. And it's helped states like Ohio avoid having to lay off police officers, teachers and firefighters.

Most of important of all, the Recovery Act staunched the hemorrhaging of jobs. Let's not forget that before President Obama signed this bill into law, America was losing 750,000 jobs a month. Since that time, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office recently reported that the Recovery Act has created as many as 2.4 million jobs throughout the country.

If you need any evidence of that, you only need to come here to the Forest Square development to see for yourself how Recovery Act investments are creating good-paying jobs and jumpstarting affordable housing development.

For the past two decades, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit has been central to financing affordable housing production across our country.

But when our credit markets froze, so did the investments states were able to make, leaving investors on the sidelines, causing the value of tax credits to plummet, and stopping projects like Forest Square dead in their tracks.

Virtually overnight, as many as a thousand projects stalled - 150,000 units of affordable rental housing.

But with President Obama's Recovery Act, that began to change - and fast. Just eight days after the President signed the Recovery Act, HUD allocated all $2.25 billion in Tax Credit Assistance Program funds to all fifty states.

And within six months, every dollar of TCAP funds was available to be spent - helping developers like the Model Group get developments like Forest Square moving again, and putting Cincinnati construction workers back to work.

In all, TCAP funding will complete construction on an estimated 35,000 units of affordable housing nationwide. Just as importantly it will create tens of thousands of jobs, including 70 jobs here at Forest Square alone.

That's 70 Ohio families who without the Recovery Act would have had nowhere to turn - no paycheck to put food on the table or pay the rent, no money to get that child's winter cough looked at by the doctor. Thanks to the Recovery Act, instead of wondering what's next, those families have jobs, a stable income, and a reason to be hopeful about their future and their children's future.

Not only that, as Forest Square shows, Recovery Act funds are helping spur the clean energy economy America needs to compete with countries like China in this global economy.

By installing high-efficiency furnaces and air conditioning, Energy Star appliances, recycled carpeting, and energy-efficient electrical and plumbing systems, the Model Group has committed to helping Forest Square win the coveted LEED certification for its use of energy-efficient technology. And with Recovery Act funds like these, this Administration is committed to helping them - to making green building an engine of economic growth, jobs and opportunity.

Indeed, by providing opportunities for mechanics, electricians, plumbers, and construction workers to build, install, repair, and maintain the first wave of green technologies in our homes and buildings, the Recovery Act is helping communities like Cincinnati train the new generation of professionals it needs in the decades to come.

As the President has said, he won't accept second place for the United States of America - and I know Cincinnati won't either. Ensuring we don't is what these funds are about.

And so, this is an important step toward recovery. While the worst of the economic crisis may have passed, we still have a long road ahead, which is why we need Congress to pass President Obama's Jobs Bill to build on the kinds of successes we are seeing today.

But with Recovery Act tools like the Tax Credit Assistance Program, we can help families. We can create jobs. And most important of all, we can lay the groundwork for a stronger, more resilient economy for the years to come. That is what the Recovery Act is about - and it's why I'm glad to share this opportunity with you today.

Thank you.


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