Prepared Remarks for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan at the Tax Credit Assistance Program Press Conference

Baltimore, MD
Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Thank you so much for the introduction. Let me also recognize Secretary Skinner from Maryland's Department of Housing and Community Development.

It's great to be with all of you today to see how President Obama's Recovery Act is creating jobs and rebuilding our economy here in Baltimore.

When the President signed the Recovery Act into law last year, 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.

Indeed, in the past year, it was the Recovery Act that was largely responsible for staving off a Second Great Depression - staunching the historic hemorrhaging of jobs we saw when we took office.

Let's not forget that before President Obama signed the Recovery Act into law, America was losing 750,000 jobs a month. Since then, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office 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 City Arts 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 developments like City Arts dead in their tracks.

Virtually overnight, as many as a thousand developments 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 Homes for America, Jubilee Baltimore, and TRF Development Partners Baltimore get developments like City Arts moving again, and putting construction workers back on the job.

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 168 jobs here at City Arts alone.

That's 168 Maryland residents 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.

It's people just like Cornelius Carey - who didn't have consistent work for over a year, but is now working full-time with Southway Builders here at City Arts because of the Recovery Act. Thanks to the Recovery Act, instead of wondering what's next, Cornelius has a job, a stable income, and a reason to be hopeful about his future and his family's future.

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

By following the Enterprise Green Communities building criteria, the first new residential building to be built in this neighborhood since the 19th century is incorporating sustainable design elements - creating a healthy living environment only two blocks from the train station that is seamlessly integrated into the surrounding neighborhood.

And with Recovery Act funds like these, this Administration is committed 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 Baltimore train the new generation of professionals it needs to be competitive 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 Baltimore 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. I'm proud the House passed President Obama's Jobs Bill - now, we need Congress to finish the job, so that we can build on the kinds of successes we are seeing today.

But with Recovery Act tools like the Tax Credit Assistance Program, we can create jobs today. We can help families today. And most important of all, we can start laying 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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