Prepared Remarks of Secretary Shaun Donovan at a Green Retrofit and Recovery Act Event in Orlando, Florida

Kinneret II Apartments, Orlando, Florida

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thank you, Mayor Dyer, for those kind words, and for your leadership on behalf of seniors in the City of Orlando.

I'd also like to thank Congressman Alan Grayson and Congresswoman Corrine Brown for their help in providing job opportunities to working families.

These apartments represent our commitment to quality, sustainable affordable housing and job creation for some of Florida's most vulnerable residents, and so it's an honor to be here with you all today.

The Kinneret II apartments are a testament to how far we've come under the leadership of President Obama as we've worked to reverse a decade of failed economic policies.

Let's not forget that for the better part of that decade, instead of building an economy that worked for all Americans, we were cutting taxes for millionaires and billionaires.

As a result of these failed policies, when we took office almost two years ago, we were losing 753,000 jobs a month -- the steepest jobs decline since the Great Depression.

But that began to change with passage of the Recovery Act, which has cut taxes for 95 percent of working families, rebuilt thousands of homes, highways, and bridges, and put 3 million Americans back to work, including 167,000 in Florida.

And while we are still digging out of that hole, and it was a deep hole, we've now experienced nine straight months of private sector job growth.

Now, as President Obama often says, the only piece of economic news that folks still looking for work want to hear is, "you're hired."

That more and more people are hearing those two words is largely thanks to the Recovery Act. When President Obama signed the Recovery Act into law, he said it would do three things: create jobs, help those most harmed by economic crisis, and lay the foundation for long-term growth.

Here at Kinneret, we can see very clearly how the Recovery Act is not only realizing all three of these goals -- but helping build a clean energy economy.

Of the nearly $14 billion in Recovery Act funds HUD is providing to communities across the country, nearly a third can be used for "greening" America's public and assisted housing stock.

The $1.56 million in funding provided to green the Kinneret II Apartments is part of a quarter-billion dollar effort to green HUD-assisted affordable housing across the country.

Thanks to the Recovery Act, the Green Retrofit Program will create thousands of green jobs as workers retrofit older federally assisted multi-family apartment developments with the next generation of energy efficient technologies -- helping landlords and property management companies cut utility costs by installing more efficient heating, cooling and water systems.

Here at Kinneret II, this funding will help install new, high-efficiency heating and air conditioning systems, water savers such as low-flow toilets, energy efficient windows and lighting upgrades, and rehabilitated kitchens.

For residents, the benefits are clear. These upgrades will not only help save our environment -- they will help save money by cutting utility costs by 15 percent.

And resident health will be improved due to investments in a new plant to reduce the toxicity of pest treatment in the apartments.

All told, the Green Retrofit rehabilitations will help extend the affordability of the Kinneret II Apartments for another 15 years, allowing them to continue providing safe, sustainable housing to low-income seniors.

Best of all, every dime of this program has been awarded and is creating jobs, including 50 good-paying green jobs right here in Orlando. Jobs that can't be sent offshore. That's in addition to 20 permanent jobs for those workers who will maintain this property.

And so, this funding is about a lot of things. It's about creating jobs and strengthening our economy. It's about reducing energy costs.

But even more than that, it's a celebration of home.

These apartments have been serving seniors for more than 30 years, particularly those with disabilities.

This investment is about ensuring that our seniors can retire with dignity and respect. It's about understanding that when we invest in housing, we also invest in the people who live in that housing.

It's about President Obama's commitment to forging local partnerships with the people who know our communities best -- people like Congressman Grayson and Congresswoman Corrine Brown.

That is what the Recovery Act is about -- and it's why I'm so very glad to join you all today. Thank you.


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