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Highlights of HUD Accomplishments 1997-1999

Here are highlights of Department of Housing and Urban Development accomplishments under the leadership of Secretary Andrew Cuomo, who took office in January 1997. (spanish version)

Improving HUD's Budget

  • HUD's landmark 2001 budget, approved by Congress and signed by President Clinton in October 2000, will provide affordable housing or homeownership assistance for nearly 7.5 million families in the coming year. The $32.4 billion in program funds represents a $4.2 billion - 16 percent - increase over HUD's fiscal year 2000 budget. The new HUD budget includes across-the-board increases in virtually every HUD program, including record funding for community development and housing block grants (CDBG and HOME), record funding for homeless assistance, record funding for Native American programs, and the largest increase in housing vouchers in more than 15 years.
  • Secretary Cuomo said, "This budget directly addresses the realities of the changing economy, especially skyrocketing housing costs in high job-growth areas that are creating a shortage of affordable housing, not just for low-income families but for the middle class as well. With this budget, we have the most resources we've had in 20 years to meet the needs of America's families."

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  • FY 2001 budget highlights include the largest increase in new housing vouchers for families in 15 years, including about 80,000 new housing vouchers to enable more families to find affordable housing; FHA authority to insure $160 billion worth of home mortgage loans - which will help approximately 1.2 million American families finance an FHA-insured home in the next year; $5.1 billion for the Community Development Block Program (CDBG); $1.8 billion for the HOME Program, an all-time record; $75 million for Empowerment Zones; a record $1.125 billion for HUD's award-winning Continuum of Care for the homeless; housing for disabled persons increases to $217 million, and housing for persons with AIDS or HIV increases to $258 million.

Implementing Management Reform at HUD

  • Secretary Cuomo unveiled his landmark HUD 2020 Management Reform Plan in June 1997. Since then, the plan has been endorsed by HUD's labor unions, successfully carried out by HUD's employees, and praised by President Clinton and government reinvention experts.
  • David Osborne, author of Reinventing Government, said in 1998 that HUD's management reform "as it is being implemented today represents one of the most ambitious, fundamental and exciting reinvention plans in the recent history of the federal government."
  • A review by management consultants Booz-Allen & Hamilton concluded in March 1998 that HUD has made "significant progress towards achieving the many management reforms that are critical to making the Department function effectively." Another outside review of HUD's reinvention performed by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP concluded in December 1998 that HUD's management reform plan is successfully moving forward on schedule.
  • A survey of HUD employees found that 70 percent believed the Department has made reinvention an important priority - the highest percentage of any of 22 federal agencies surveyed. The 1998 employee survey was performed by the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, which is headed by Vice President Al Gore. The Vice President said: "Through REGO (the Reinventing Government Initiative) - and thanks to the extraordinary leadership of Secretary Andrew Cuomo - we turned HUD around."
  • A 1999 report by the General Accounting Office of Congress said: "HUD continues to make credible progress in overhauling its operations to correct its management deficiencies" and called Cuomo's management reform plan "a major contributor to this progress."
  • The HUD Office of Inspector General issued the first clean audit of HUD's financial statements in the Department's history in March 1999. This means that for the first time, HUD's financial statements are in full compliance with all applicable federal requirements. While the audit also summarized past criticisms that the Office of Inspector General has made of HUD, the Inspector General wrote that the audit "represents a considerable achievement for HUD, and it further reflects continuing improvements in HUD's commitment and ability to properly account for the funds entrusted to the Department."
  • In a key management reform, HUD created an Enforcement Center in 1998 headed by an FBI agent and assisted by U.S. Attorneys' offices to establish and implement the highest standards of integrity in HUD programs. The Center continued the crackdown begun by Cuomo on landlords who collect money improperly from the Department.
  • HUD launched its first nationwide inspection program of all affordable housing subsidized or insured by the Department in October 1998. The inspections of 29,000 privately-owned, HUD-assisted complexes were completed in the Summer of 2000, and some 87 percent of the properties were found to be in excellent or good condition. Regular follow-up inspections will be conducted in future years. The inspections are designed to create better living conditions for residents of public housing, of privately owned housing subsidized under the Section 8 Program, and of housing insured by HUD. The first group of physical inspections of public housing authorities found that 87 percent of that housing was in good or excellent condition.
  • A report by the independent National Academy of Public Administration released in April 1999, concluded HUD has substantially improved its contracting operations. The report, titled HUD Procurement Reform: Substantial Progress Underway, found that HUD has taken a series of actions to improve its contracting operations resulting in "substantial progress toward the goal of developing and implementing a model procurement system."
  • Under management reform, HUD in 1998 created two new categories of employees called Community Builders and Public Trust Officers. Community Builders work to empower America's people and local governments to take the leading role in improving lives and strengthening communities. These generalists serve as one-stop customer service representatives in HUD's 81 field offices. Public Trust Officers are HUD professional staff who guard against waste, fraud and abuse by monitoring recipients of HUD assistance.
  • In 1998, HUD began opening new storefront offices around the country called HUD Next Door - a new type of consumer service center designed to become a national model for more responsive government. The first Storefront Office was opened in Washington, DC in May 1998; another in Albuquerque, NM in February 1999; and a third in Syracuse, NY in December 1999. New HUD storefront offices will be opened in other cities this year and in the years ahead.
  • Management reform is bringing new technology to HUD, including: touch-screen computers set up in information kiosks easily accessible to the public; hand-held computers used for inspecting public and assisted housing where 6 million low- and moderate-income people live; and innovative Community 2020 software that contains detailed information about communities to help local officials better plan for the future. The HUD Next Door Kiosk Team received a coveted "Hammer Award" from Vice President Gore's National Partnership For Reinventing Government.
  • An independent report issued in March 2000 by the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche says the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund is in its strongest financial condition since it was created in 1934 The study says the record $16.6 billion economic value of the FHA's insurance fund is an increase of $5.3 billion over 1998. The report also states that FHA's capital adequacy ratio is 3.66 percent - far in excess of the Congressionally mandated goal of 2 percent. In addition, Deloitte & Touche found that FHA has made a remarkable turnaround from just ten years ago. The FHA insurance fund had an economic value of negative $2.7 billion in 1990.
  • Technology has continued to change much of the way HUD does business, including cutting approval time for FHA mortgage insurance from a range of four to six weeks to a new range of two to four days. HUD also uses technology to reach out to average citizens by providing valuable information on its award-winning website. Information is available about housing counseling for first-time homebuyers, where to find a FHA-approved mortgage lender, how to buy a "HUD Home," where HUD funds are being spent in local communities, where HUD funded developments and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields sites are located (through HUD's new EMAPS program), and even empowers individuals and families to file housing discrimination complaints on-line.

Transforming Public Housing

  • Public Housing reform measures approved by Congress in 1998 adopted key reforms sought by President Clinton and Secretary Cuomo. The reforms reduced segregation in public housing by race and income, encouraged and rewarded work, brought more working families into public housing, and increased the availability of subsidized housing for very poor families.
  • To deconcentrate poverty, moderate-income working families will be admitted to public housing developments where the poorest residents now are concentrated, and the poorest families will be admitted to public housing where families with higher incomes are now concentrated. The law also requires that at least 75 percent of Section 8 rental assistance vouchers go to families with incomes below 30 percent of the area median income. Median family income varies from city to city, but nationally it is about $45,300. The law says that at least 40 percent of newly available public housing units will go to the poorest households. Public housing authorities around the country will be required to submit plans to HUD to reduce segregation by race and income in public housing.
  • The law also is designed to improve living conditions and reduce crime in public housing. It implements public housing reforms that were proposed by the Clinton Administration to require improved public housing management and increased program efficiency.
  • HUD's 2001 budget will revitalize and improve public housing developments with $575 million for a unique and successful program called HOPE VI. HOPE VI - HUD's flagship public housing program and this year's winner of Harvard University's prestigious Innovations in Government Award - will replace more than 9,500 units in the most dilapidated developments with attractive, mixed-income communities. Under HOPE VI, HUD replaces decaying public housing with new housing and helps residents get education, training and jobs to become self-sufficient.

Expanding and Reforming Rental Assistance

  • In addition to $13 billion to renew all existing Section 8 vouchers, the 2001 budget provides about 80,000 new housing vouchers to enable more low- and moderate-income families rent decent, safe and sanitary privately-owned apartments. Last year, HUD received 60,000 new vouchers. Under a new HUD program - homeownership vouchers - vouchers can provide families an avenue to homeownership. HUD now allows vouchers to be used for mortgage payments instead of rent - an breakthrough that will give thousands of assisted renters their first opportunity to purchase and own a home.
  • In 1997, HUD won Congressional approval of a plan to rescue the Section 8 rental subsidy program from financial collapse, averting a crisis that could have threatened up to 4.4 million Americans with homelessness. The plan increased funding for Section 8 renewals by $4.6 billion, to enable HUD to renew all expiring Section 8 contracts. In addition, HUD ended excessive rental subsidies to private landlords under the project-based Section 8 program. By cutting subsidies so that landlords receive rents from HUD at market rates, the measure will save taxpayers nearly $1.6 billion over five years.
  • In a study of "worst case" housing needs released in March 2000, HUD documented the need for a greater supply of affordable housing. Following up on a 1998 study - which found that 12.5 million people in 5.3 million very low-income households faced a housing crisis - the March report showed that needs had increased to 5.4 million households. The report, Rental Housing Assistance - The Worsening Crisis, examined the period between 1991 and 1997. Among its major findings: despite a robust economic recovery, worst case housing needs increased more than three times as quickly for households with full-time earners than for all other very low-income renters; the housing stock affordable to the lowest income Americans continues to shrink, with rental units affordable to families with incomes below 30% of area median income declining by over 370,000 units; worst case housing needs among minority households increased dramatically while needs of non-Hispanic whites were stable; and both very low-income renters and extremely low-income renters remain more likely to have worst case problems in the suburbs than elsewhere.
  • HUD took action in 1999 to lift a roadblock that had prevented some Indian tribes from opening new low-income housing on their reservations for months, although the housing was already built or under construction. Tribes also faced the prospect of having to return millions of dollars in HUD funds used to build the housing - an action that could have forced some tribes into bankruptcy.

Increasing Homeownership and Helping Homebuyers

  • In July 1999, Secretary Cuomo established new Affordable Housing Goals requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - two government sponsored enterprises involved in housing finance - to buy $2.4 trillion in mortgages in the next 10 years. This will mean new affordable housing for about 28.1 million low- and moderate-income families. The historic action raised the required percentage of mortgage loans for low- and moderate-income families that the companies must buy from the current 42 percent of their total purchases to a new high of 50 percent - a 19 percent increase - in the year 2001. Under federal regulations announced in October 2000, the affordable housing goals for loans made to underserved areas will increase along with the goal for mortgages to benefit families with very low incomes. A special affordable housing goal for families with very low incomes and low incomes - those with less than 60 percent and 80 percent of area median - jumps from the current 14 percent to 20 percent (a 43 percent increase). In addition, a geographically targeted goal for underserved areas - central cities, rural areas, and underserved communities based on income and minority concentration - increases from 24 percent to 31 percent, a 29 percent increase.
  • More than 10,000 volunteers in 156 cities joined Secretary Cuomo on Saturday, October 16, 1999 in Raise the Roof Day - a nationwide volunteer effort organized by HUD to rehabilitate and build housing for families in need. The event was designed to expand the supply of affordable rental housing and increase homeownership for low- and moderate-income families. About 1,800 houses and apartments in bad condition were repaired and transformed into safe and decent housing in participating cities across the counry during the day-long activities. Construction also was begun on dozens of new homes. Raise the Roof Day has created a partnership between HUD, local governments, non-profit groups and businesses to organize volunteers to repair deteriorated and often vacant housing and to build new housing.
  • The strong economy created by President Clinton's policies combined with HUD's homeownership programs boosted America's homeownership rate in the third quarter of 2000 to a new record-high, with 67.7 percent of all families owning their homes. Census Bureau data showed that a total of 71.6 million American families owned their homes - more than at any time in American history. The new 67.7 percent quarterly homeownership rate tops the previous all-time record of 67.1 percent set in the second quarter of 2000. When President Clinton took office the homeownership rate was 64 percent, and by 1999 the rate for the full year was 66.8 percent - the highest percentage of any full year in American history. In addition to the historic national homeownership rate, all-time high rates were set for minorities (48.2 percent), Hispanics (46.7 percent), central city residents (51.9 percent), households headed by females (53.3 percent), households earning less than the median family income for the quarter (52.2 percent), and married couples younger than 35 (61.0 percent). Because of the continued strong growth rate among minority homeowners, a total of 40 percent of the net new homeowners since 1994 are minorities - even though minorities account for just 23 percent of the population.
  • In a move to enable FHA to help more families become homeowners, in March 1999 Cuomo asked Congress to increase the loan cap on FHA to allow it to insure a greater number of home mortgage loans. The FHA loan cap was raised to $140 billion in home mortgages - at no cost to taxpayers.
  • Homeownership is expected to rise even higher because homebuyers across the country will benefit from higher FHA loan limits that enable them to get mortgage insurance on typical homes for sale in their communities. First-time homebuyers are the primary beneficiaries of these increases, because without FHA insurance, many homebuyers are unable to qualify for mortgages. On January 1, 2000, HUD began insuring home mortgage loans at increased loan limits of up to $121,296 in communities where housing costs are relatively low, and loans ranging up to $219,849 in communities where housing costs are higher. At the previous lower levels, many families who needed FHA mortgage insurance to qualify for a home purchase were effectively locked out of homeownership. The increased loan limits are part of a regular annual adjustment HUD will make to account for rising home prices.
  • In October 2000, Secretary Cuomo announced a plan that will save more than one million homeowners with Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages in excess of $1 billion annually in insurance costs. The Homebuyer Savings Plan will reduce the premium requirement to 1.5 percent of the original loan amount, saving a family with a typical $100,000 FHA-backed mortgage $750; for larger mortgages the initial savings may be as much as $1,650. The plan also will eliminate FHA's annual premium of .5 percent on all loans once homeowners build 22 percent equity in their home. These two parts of the plan will save the typical FHA consumer an average of $1,500 over the life of a $100,000 loan.
  • Families who get FHA-insured mortgages each year will benefit from HUD's Homebuyer Protection Plan created in 1998 and expanded in 1999. The plan requires a thorough review of a home's physical condition before a home can be purchased with an FHA mortgage. This new system - combined with tough new penalties against appraisers who make inaccurate appraisals - will protect homebuyers from being overcharged for homes and from buying homes with major defects that until now could go undetected.
  • In March 1999 HUD issued a policy statement designed to save homebuyers millions of dollars a year by protecting them from excessive mortgage broker fees and by encouraging improved disclosure of mortgage broker fees and services. The policy statement deals with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), which regulates mortgage loan settlement services. The statement says that the compensation a mortgage broker receives from a lender and from a borrower must be reasonable for the actual work performed.
  • HUD, the National Association of Home Builders and the U.S. Conference of Mayors signed a Memorandum of Understanding in February 1999 agreeing to work together to build new homes and apartments in cities all across America. The Building Homes in America Partnership is expected to add one million new homes to the urban housing stock over the next ten years.
  • In late 1997 HUD launched a program to return millions of dollars in refunds to homebuyers who made excess payments to FHA. As of April 2000, more than $16 million has been returned to over 19,000 homebuyers.
  • HUD's homeownership voucher initiative will allow families eligible for Section 8 rental assistance to become first-time homebuyers. A family must be a first-time homebuyer, have an annual household income of at least $10,300 and, except for the elderly or disabled, have at least one adult member who has been employed full-time for a year. In addition, welfare income will only be counted toward the minimum income requirement in the case of the elderly or disabled. Vouchers may be used for 15 years if the mortgage is for 20 years or longer, and or up to 10 years for a mortgage of shorter duration. The voucher amount for homeownership will be the same as those for rental assistance.
  • "Healthy Homes for Healthy Children" was launched in 1998 - a new life-saving initiative to help parents protect their children from potentially deadly hidden dangers in their homes. TV home improvement expert Bob Vila appears in television and print ads that tell parents how to make their homes safe from injury.
  • HUD ended a scheme by con artists that victimized senior citizen homeowners by charging individuals thousands of dollars in unnecessary fees for reverse mortgages. Reverse mortgages allow older people to borrow against the value of their homes.

Fighting Housing Discrimination

  • In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee on March 30, 2000, Secretary Cuomo announced he would convene a Task Force On Predatory Lending to conduct hearings in major cities to examine predatory lending. The vast majority of mortgage fraud and predatory lending activities - including excessive fees, provision of credit life insurance and prepayment penalties - occurs in the conventional subprime lending market, a relatively new sector of the mortgage market. HUD estimates that subprime loan volume has grown from $20 billion in 1993 to more than $150 billion in 1998. Subprime lenders generally do not make government-backed loans and often operate outside of the current federal regulatory structure.
  • Cuomo released a study in April 2000 - Unequal Burden: Income and Racial Disparities in Subprime Lending in America - showing that the number of subprime home loans and possible predatory lending is skyrocketing in predominantly black neighborhoods and low-income neighborhoods. HUD's analysis of about one million home loans shows: that from 1993 to 1998, the number of subprime refinancing loans increased ten-fold; subprime loans are three times more likely in low income neighborhoods than in high-income neighborhoods; subprime loans are five times more likely in black neighborhoods than in white neighborhoods; and homeowners in high-income black areas are twice as likely as homeowners in low-income white areas to have subprime loans.
  • The U.S. Treasury joined the Task Force On Predatory Lending in April 2000, and Secretary Cuomo and Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers created a joint HUD-Treasury Task Force would hold regional hearings on predatory lending in Atlanta, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Baltimore. In June, the cabinet secretaries issued a joint report with recommendations on how to address these problems.
  • HUD's crackdown on housing discrimination, which was ordered by President Clinton, is opening up new housing opportunities to minorities and people with disabilities. As part of President Clinton's One America Initiative, funding in HUD's 1999 budget for programs to fight housing discrimination was raised from $30 million to $40 million - a 33 percent increase. This includes $7.5 million for a new audit-based enforcement initiative. The 2001 budget boosts funding for HUD programs to fight housing discrimination to $46 million.
  • A nationwide audit will be held to examine and analyze housing discrimination in communities across America. The audit will include 3,000 to 5,000 tests for housing discrimination, using African Americans, Hispanics, Asian/Pacific Islanders and Native Americans to examine and evaluate patterns and trends in housing sales, rentals and mortgage lending to minorities. HUD will provide funds to local non-profit groups and enforcement agencies to monitor and act against housing discrimination.

Ending Gun Violence in America

  • Secretary Cuomo and Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers, signed a breakthrough gun safety agreement on March 17, 2000 on behalf of the Clinton Administration with Smith & Wesson, America's largest gun manufacturer, under which the company agrees to make major changes in the design, distribution and marketing of guns to make them safer and to help keep them out of the hands of children and criminals. The agreement requires Smith & Wesson to: 1) Install mandatory gun locks and other child-safety devices on all guns. 2) Introduce "smart gun" technology in all newly designed handguns. 3) Bar gun sales - including gun show sales - without a background check of the buyer. 4) Limit multiple handgun sales.
  • In March 2000, Secretary Cuomo announced that HUD would continue funding gun buyback programs around the nation after the House Appropriations Committee dropped plans to block nearly $2.6 million in HUD funds already awarded for buybacks of about 50,000 guns in 80 cities. The buybacks are designed to reduce the toll of gun violence, which each week claims an average of 600 lives and injures another 1,800 people in crimes, accidents and suicides around the United States. HUD gun buyback funds will be used by housing authorities and police departments to buy back guns for a suggested price of $50 each - either in cash or in the form of gift certificates for food, toys, or other goods. In just the first wave of HUD-funded gun buybacks, 43 cities purchased guns under the Department's BuyBack America initiative. A total of 85 cities are participating in the first round of gun buybacks.
  • Also in March 2000, Secretary Cuomo launched the Communities for Safer Guns Coalition to encourage gun manufacturers to adopt a code of responsible conduct, such as the one signed by Smith & Wesson. In the first three months alone, mayors, county executives, town supervisors and officials from almost 600 communities across the country signed the Coalition's pledge to support giving a preference to gun makers that have adopted the code of conduct when their local governments buy guns for law enforcement agencies.

Revitalizing America's Communities and Creating Jobs

  • Fifteen economically-distressed urban communities and five rural areas became Empowerment Zones in January 1999, making them eligible to share $3.8 billion in proposed federal grants and tax-exempt bonding authority to finance sweeping revitalization and job creation programs over ten years. This would have a dramatic effect in these areas, which have high unemployment, weak economies, and shortages of affordable housing. The second round of Empowerment Zones builds on the experience of the program's first round, which included 11 Zones (as well as 94 Enterprise Communities), most of them designated in December 1994.
  • Funding for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) in HUD's 2001 budget grew to about $5.1 billion, a significant increase from FY 2000's $4.8 billion. CDBG provides flexible federal assistance to help local governments carry out a wide range of community and economic development activities.
  • America's Private Investment Companies (APIC) initiative is slated to receive $37 million once New Markets legislation is enacted, pursuant to the Administration's agreement with Congress. A cornerstone of the President's New Markets Initiative, it will create as much as $1.5 billion in pools of private equity capital for large-scale business investment in under-served rural and inner city communities. HUD received $20 million in FY 2000 for APIC - a bold new vehicle for expanding the availability of investment capital in distressed urban and rural areas. HUD's investment will stimulate the investment of over $540 million in privately issued, government guaranteed loans and an additional $275 million in private equity capital. Funding for APIC will help tap emerging markets here in America by closing the equity capital gap that often undercuts growth and business opportunity.
  • A dramatic HUD new report -Places Left Behind in the New Economy - was issued in April 1999 by Secretary Cuomo during an address at the National Press Club. The report points out that while most cities are healthier than they have been in a decade, significant numbers have been left behind. It concludes that "America's economy offers the best opportunity in a generation" to help these communities now because of low unemployment, strong business growth, an aggressive urban agenda and the balanced federal budget. The report builds on HUD's landmark 1997 and 1998 State of the Cities reports and is based on studies of unemployment, population loss and poverty of all 539 central cities in the United States. It presents four main findings on the new urban challenge: 1) one in six central cities (17 percent) have unacceptably high unemployment, defined as 50 percent or more above the national rate; 2) just over one in five central cities (22 percent) have steadily lost population, defined as losses of five percent or more between 1980 and 1996; 3) one in three cities (32 percent) are plagued by persistently high poverty, defined as rates of 20 percent or more; and 4) one in seven cities (14 percent) face "double trouble," a combination of high unemployment plus either significant long-term population loss or persistently high poverty rates.
  • As of October 2001, more than 1000 Neighborhood Networks centers were in operation across the United States, beating the original goal of Spring 2001, by six months. Neighborhood Networks is a community-based initiative which encourages development of computer resource centers in HUD-assisted and/or-insured housing. Typically, centers raise money and obtain equipment by building partnerships with local businesses, non-profits, faith-based organizations, and local colleges and universities. Centers offer programs for children, adults and seniors in computer training, Internet access, job readiness support, microenterprise development, GED certification, health care and social services, adult education classes and youth services.
  • In 1997 HUD created the Officer Next Door program to give police officers 50 percent discounts on homes HUD acquires in foreclosures in distressed neighborhoods to spark community revitalization. Almost 3,000 police officers around the country have become homeowners under the program. A similar program, called the Teacher Next Door, was launched in March 2000 to dramatically reduce the cost of homeownership for thousands of teachers. Through Teacher Next Door, HUD will offer teachers homes that HUD owns in communities across the country - at half price. The initiative was created because offering teachers such a unique and affordable homeownership opportunity will also help continue rebuilding the fabric of our communities.
  • Under HUD's new Good Neighbor Policy announced by Secretary Cuomo in March 2000, single-family homes acquired through foreclosure by the FHA will be eligible for sale to local governments for $1 each whenever FHA is unable to sell the homes for six months. About 3,000 homes will initially be eligible for sale to local governments under the initiative, with additional homes available each month.
  • In July 1999, President Clinton released a HUD report titled New Markets: The Untapped Retail Buying Power In America's Inner Cities. The two major findings of the HUD report are: 1) America's inner city neighborhoods possess enormous retail purchasing power - estimated at $331 billion last year, or one-third of the $1.1 trillion total for the central cities in which those neighborhoods are located. The report suggests that businesses not yet operating in inner cities should not ignore that large domestic market. 2) Despite their huge buying power, many of America's inner city communities are "under-retailed," with sales that fall significantly short of residents' retail purchasing power. The HUD report concludes that retailers can find major profit-making opportunities in low- and moderate-income inner city neighborhoods, which it calls "undiscovered territories for many businesses."
  • HUD expanded the Youthbuild Program in 1999 to provide on-site training in construction skills, along with academic training, to unemployed high school drop-out ages 16 to 24. Youthbuild participants build housing for homeless and other low-income people, and in the process learn construction skills that can land them good jobs.

Helping Homeless Americans Become Self-sufficient

  • In the 2001 budget, HUD's award-winning Continuum of Care for homeless persons received a record $1.125 billion. This represents an increase of $105 million over FY 2000, and more than twice the level of funding for homeless assistance at the start of the Clinton-Gore Administration. This year more than 388,000 homeless Americans will benefit from HUD homeless assistance grants that help them get housing, job training, substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, child care and other services that enable them to get permanent jobs and permanent housing. From 1993 when President Clinton took office through the end of 2000, HUD will have invested $8 billion in programs to help homeless Americans - almost five times what HUD spent on homeless grants between 1987, when they first were created, until 1993.
  • A Columbia University study concluded that HUD's homeless policies spelled out in the Continuum of Care "have had a positive impact on communities across the nation" and were an improvement from past efforts that focused on short-term emergency shelter.
  • Before he became HUD Secretary, Cuomo played a key role in developing the Clinton Administration's approach to helping homeless Americans become self-sufficient. The "Continuum of Care" provides transitional and permanent housing assistance, helps people overcome problems that can lead to homelessness, such as a lack of basic education, good job skills, mental illness and drug addiction. The grants are awarded to states, local governments and non-profit groups based on factors that measure the effectiveness of locally-developed plans to help homeless people become self-sufficient. In 1999 the Continuum of Care program received the Innovations in Government Award from the Ford Foundation and Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. It was one of 1,400 competitors for the prestigious award.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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