Hope VI Grant Announcement


Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming. I am pleased to join Mayor (Tom) Barrett for this grant announcement. And, on a personal note, I am pleased to come back to the state of my birth.

Growing up, I often came to Milwaukee. I thought it was a great city then�and it remains a great city now�a city of culture, sports, education, opportunity, and wonderful neighborhoods, a place of business and finance.

Cities like Milwaukee grow and change. Great cities age and need revitalization. Great cities also become more expensive, sometimes pricing out middle-and-lower-income families, often the very families that make the city work: teachers, firefighters, transportation workers, nurses, and others who are indispensable to the success and livability of the city.

That is why public housing is so important. There must be affordable housing in the city for those who work in the city. Great cities have people of all income levels, not just the rich or the fortunate few. Great cities thrive on diversity and inclusion. And great cities do not leave out or exclude the fragile and weak. For example, here at Cherry Court, there is housing for the elderly and disabled. These citizens must remain a vibrant part of the city and never be excluded or marginalized.

In other words, as cities age and demographics change, we must recognize changing needs, especially in public housing. We must recognize the needs of our cities and respond to them in ways that involve the private sector and all levels of government, creating workable public-private partnerships.

The HOPE VI program has been extremely helpful for revitalizing cities and maintaining, even increasing, the availability of public housing. And HOPE VI grant funds attract other governmental and private investment. Each HOPE VI grant dollar attracts an additional $2.7 in other leverage funds for construction or rehabilitation of subsidized housing. So HOPE VI has attracted private developers and private property management firms to the public housing market.

And community and supportive services are provided to residents to help them become self-sufficient, to obtain more opportunities and to increase incomes. We don't want people to stay in public housing for a generation, or even several generations. That is a sure way to create a self-fulfilling dependency. We want to empower people to move forward with their lives, to leave because they can, not to need affordable housing at some point. This is when a government service becomes more than a helping hand�it is a road to freedom and choice.

So, today I am pleased to announce a HOPE VI grant for Milwaukee. The Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM) is receiving a HOPE VI Revitalization grant of almost $6.8 million. HACM was selected from among 24 public housing authorities across the country.

The grant will enable the HACM to revitalize a portion of its scattered site properties. HACM will replace 24 severely distressed scattered site units with a total of 100 new or renovated units.

The grant will help build on previous efforts. Including this grant, HACM has been awarded six HOPE VI Revitalization grants.

Let me explain how the grant will work for the residents involved. HACM will pay relocation and re-occupancy costs for residents as needed. Affected residents can relocate to other public housing or receive a Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) to subsidize their rent in privately owned housing. Relocated residents are given the opportunity to move back to the newly constructed units. Alternatively, if residents choose not to return to public housing, they may keep their voucher.

The HOPE VI grant will also give relocated families access to support services such as career training and employment programs for adults; educational programs for children and youth; and homeownership counseling programs.

This grant is good for the city. It will make more affordable housing available. It will create this housing in mixed-income communities that will be a credit to the city. This grant will contribute to the revitalization of urban Milwaukee. It will help a great city remain great.

Milwaukee's housing authority has already demonstrated its ability to revitalize neighborhoods and transform lives. I'm proud that HUD can be a partner in breathing new life into some of Milwaukee's most distressed neighborhoods. Mr. Mayor, I look forward to working with you on this grant. I congratulate both you and the city for obtaining this competitive grant.

And ladies and gentlemen, again, thank you for coming.


Content Archived: February 6, 2012