Testimony of the Honorable Andrew Cuomo
March 30, 2000
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Subcommittee on VA, HUD and Independent Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Chairman Bond, Senator
Mikulski, members of the Subcommittee, thank you for inviting
me here today to discuss HUD's proposed FY 2001 budget. It is
my pleasure to be here today. This year, HUD's budget request
is $32.1 billion. That represents a $6 billion increase over
the amount enacted last year. It's HUD's strongest budget in
Mr. Chairman, before discussing
the details of this year's budget, I would like to take a moment
to thank you and this Committee for the extraordinary support
that you gave us on our budget request last year, and for that
matter, the year before. We have been able to accomplish great
While we have not always agreed
on all of the specifics, by working together we have been able
to establish a remarkable record of bipartisan cooperation. For
the past two years in a row we have reached unprecedented agreement
on HUD's budget requests, with increased funding for public housing,
economic development, homeownership, and rental housing. I look
forward to another year of cooperation, and I pledge every member
of my Department's commitment to that end.
Mr. Chairman, I believe that
this year we are at a crossroads. This year, the first year of
the new millennium, we must make a choice. That choice is whether
we build on our success and take a bold step towards once and
for all addressing our nation's affordable housing needs. This
year we have an extraordinary opportunity to set this nation
on a new course, so that when the historians write the history
of housing in this century, they will be able to say that this
was truly the year we made good on the goal of a "decent,
safe and affordable home for every American family".
And there should be no doubt
that we are facing a crisis. It is a term that I do not use lightly.
The evidence, unfortunately, is clear. It is impossible to open
the newspaper today without reading reports describing the problem
in communities in virtually every part of the country. Almost
every day there are articles about rising rents and the lack
of affordable housing - both in big cities like San Francisco,
Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami and New York, as well as in smaller
and medium-sized like Rochester, Norfolk, and Sacramento.
It is a cruel irony that while
most communities are doing very well in this booming economy,
the better they are doing the more acute their shortage of affordable
housing. Those that are doing the best are often also facing
the worst shortages. The stronger the economy, the stronger the
upward pressure on rents. Even some of America's strongest regions
for business are literally being "priced out" of housing
by their success. In Silicon Valley, the leading companies driving
the global information age have identified affordable housing
as their number one backyard concern.
HUD's new worst case housing
needs report, which we released earlier this week, gives us a
nation-wide picture that confirms these local reports. With your
permission I would like to enter this report into the record.
It is entitled Rental Housing Assistance - The Worsening Crisis.
It's the most in-depth, comprehensive and respected analysis
of rental housing in the United States.
There are a number of dramatic
findings in this report. I would like to highlight three of them
today. The first, and most important, is that, despite the booming
economy, the number of families with worst case housing needs
has increased to 5.4 million - an all-time high. Since the last
worst case housing needs report was released two years ago, the
number of families with worst case needs has increased by 4%,
twice the rate of growth for the U.S. population.
Households with worst case needs
are defined as unassisted renters with incomes below 50 percent
of the local median, who pay more than half of their income for
rent or live in severely substandard housing.
Even more compelling than the
record number of worst case needs is the increase that we've
seen over the past decade. There are now 600,000 more households
with worst case housing needs than there were in 1991 when the
current economic recovery began - a rate of increase that is
almost twice as fast as overall household growth.
A second important finding of
this report is that families with worst case needs are working
harder than ever. While you would expect that the poorest families
also have the worst case needs, the fact is that the number of
people who work full-time and have worst case housing needs increased
by 28% from 1991 to 1997 - a rate of growth that is almost twice
as fast as the rate for all other low-income renters. People
used to think that if you were willing to work hard, things would
take care of themselves. You would be able to afford housing
and take care of your family. But that, unfortunately, is not
always the case any more.
The third finding I want to highlight
is that low-income Americans who live in the suburbs, not the
cities, are more likely to have worst case needs than elsewhere.
It disproves the myth that the affordable housing shortage in
this country is an urban problem. It's the suburbs where you're
seeing the largest drop-off in the number of affordable housing
units available. In fact, over one third of all worst case households
live in the suburbs.
These findings make a clear and
compelling case for greater federal attention to our nation's
housing needs. With this Committee's support and through bipartisan
cooperation, we have broken the gridlock on affordable housing,
when Congress approved new housing vouchers in each of the past
two years - 60,000 last year and 50,000 the year before.
With worst case needs at record
levels, there is now an urgent need to strengthen federal efforts
to assure adequate supplies of decent, safe and affordable housing
for America's struggling families.
That is the need that our FY
2001 budget proposals address, Mr. Chairman. That is why we have
requested continued support from Congress for incremental housing
vouchers to help meet the housing needs of low-income families
struggling with rising rents.
And that is why the President
has asked for an overall $6 billion increase over last year's
enacted level. It reflects his belief that we must squarely address
this rental housing crisis, that we must address the needs of
those people and places left behind in this new economy, that
we must help working families move closer to job opportunities
- and that HUD now has the strength to address these challenges
effectively and responsibly.
FY 2001 Budget Builds
A few years ago, some would have
argued that while the need was there, HUD did not have the capacity
to address it. I am pleased to tell you that that is no longer
the case. By virtually any measure, and according to every independent
expert, HUD today not only has the capacity, but is better positioned
than ever to help communities take on the challenges of the 21st
This year's budget proposal is
a direct outcome of the management reforms we have put in place
over the past three years. I am convinced that we now have the
tools, the resources, and the capacity to wisely and responsibly
spend the funds we have requested.
Our management reforms have succeeded
in transforming HUD into an agency that puts communities first.
Fighting fraud, waste, and abuse, our Public Trust Officers are
cracking down on those who misuse taxpayer dollars. Renewing
our commitment to first-class customer service, our Community
Builders are connecting people to the full range of HUD resources.
As a result, HUD today is back in business-back in the housing
business, in the economic development business, and in the community
But nowhere is HUD's turnaround
more evident than in the FHA's mortgage insurance programs. In
1990 FHA was virtually broke -- $2.7 billion in the red. Despite
a six-decade history of providing access to mortgage capital,
FHA had projected losses from claims on mortgage insurance that
were far in excess of projected revenue. Thanks to our Management
2020 reforms, that's all changed.
Today, the FHA and its Mutual
Mortgage Insurance Fund are the healthiest they have been in
decades. Last year FHA insured a record 1.3 million mortgages
worth $124 billion dollars. With FHA's help, the nation is currently
enjoying the highest homeownership rate in history.
And last month, the new Actuarial
Review of the FHA Insurance Fund for Fiscal Year 1999 brought
more good news. The review -- conducted by Deloitte Touche --
shows the value of the Fund stands at a record high of $16.637
billion. According to the auditors, the value of the Fund is
$5.3 billion over previous estimates. The President has directed
me to work with the Office of Management and Budget to develop
recommendations on how these surplus funds can best be used to
strengthen federal housing efforts in the years ahead.
This past year has been a banner
year for HUD in other areas as well. President Clinton kicked
off his New Markets Initiative with historic visits to the Pine
Ridge Indian Reservation, East St. Louis, Los Angeles, the Mississippi
Delta, Central Appalachia, and other inner-city and rural communities
served by HUD. These are the emerging markets of the new century.
They are the places that will provide the consumer and labor
markets needed to fuel economic growth in the future - and through
our economic development programs we will help them tap this
The budget also proposes to expand
the successful Continuum of Care program for homeless assistance
and prevention-a winner this year of the prestigious Innovations
in Government Award from Harvard University and the Ford Foundation.
The national survey of homelessness in America, conducted by
the Census Bureau, showed that we are on the right track with
the Continuum-which has, so far, helped 400,000 people move from
homelessness to self-sufficiency. But with an estimated 600,000
Americans still homeless each night, there is still much more
In the past year we launched
a major commitment to address one of the key challenges facing
us in the new millennium-the graying of America. Our budget requests
increased funding for HUD's new Housing Security Plan for Older
Americans-helping seniors stay in their own homes as long as
possible, increasing funding for the successful Section 202 elderly
housing program, converting existing elderly housing to assisted
living, and in 2001, building new assisted living facilities.
We have seen historic, across-the-board
gains on the homeownership front-70.1 million American families
own their homes today, more than at any time in our history.
With higher loan limits and through internal reforms, a revitalized
FHA is now on the leading edge of this homeownership boom, serving
minorities, first-time home buyers, and cities in unprecedented
numbers. This year's budget request positions the FHA to do even
more. And we are also investing more than ever in our Native
American programs to boost homeownership in Indian Country.
This year we are also proposing
to tap the vital skills and resources-and the commitment to social
justice-of the non-profit and faith-based community. Through
our Center for Nonprofit and Interfaith Partnerships, a $20-million
initiative will expand access of community and interfaith partnerships
to HUD programs and help build new public-private partnerships
at the local level.
Finally, we are more committed
than ever to building safe, secure communities. The dramatic
reduction in violent crime has been one of the great success
stories of this past decade. Our budget contains several initiatives
to further reduce the scourge of gun and other types of violence,
both in public housing and in surrounding communities. Without
safety there can be no prosperity.
Overall, this new budget affirms
this Department's progress. HUD, clearly, is back in business.
These initiatives will allow America's communities to make the
most of this unique moment in our nation's history. Together,
they will put this record prosperity to work for everyone, everywhere.
HUD's FY 2001 budget addresses
four major challenges: (1) economic revitalization of our nation's
communities by investing in new markets; (2) increasing affordable
housing and boosting homeownership; (3) ending discrimination
in housing through enforcement of our Fair Housing laws; and
(4) creating safe and livable communities.
and Investing in New Markets
As we enter the 109th month of
sustained economic growth-the longest our nation has ever known-we
have much to celebrate: the lowest peacetime unemployment and
inflation rates in decades; the fastest and longest real wage
growth in 20 years; and an all-time high homeownership rate,
which reflects both economic strength and consumer confidence.
But there is another side to
this success. Though most cities are doing well, one in six still
has unacceptably high levels of unemployment; in older suburbs,
crime, poverty, and homelessness have become more prevalent;
and in some parts of rural America, areas persist that are virtually
untouched by the economic boom.
In his State of the Union message
earlier this year, the President addressed these people and places
when he said: 'To keep our historic expansion going, we need
a 21st century revolution to open new markets, start new business
and hire new workers right here in America - our inner cities,
poor rural areas, and on Indian reservations."
With this FY 2001 budget, HUD
is on the front lines of this 21st century revolution, building
on HUD's successful track record of promoting business investment
and job creation in underserved communities. Over the past seven
years, we have retooled our job creation and business investment
programs, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in both urban
and rural communities across the United States.
HUD's economic development initiatives
will not only help spur the economic revitalization of distressed
communities, they will contribute to the continued economic growth
of the nation as a whole. The goal of these initiatives is straightforward:
extend the national prosperity to people and places left behind
in the new economy.
CDBG. Last year we celebrated the 25th anniversary
of the Community Development Block Program. A pioneer of devolution,
CDBG has developed a proven record as the most flexible federal
aid to both cities and smaller rural communities. This year's
budget request builds on 25 years of success, with a request
for $4.9 billion, up $119 million over last year, and $195 million
over the past three years. However, the real increase for this
program is even larger than these totals imply. By reducing set-asides,
we will increase the effective amount of formula funding that
that goes directly to communities by $250 million, for uses they
American Private Investment
Companies. Last year,
Congress appropriated $20 million as an initial credit subsidy
for the cornerstone of the President's New Markets Initiative:
for-profit investment funds known as America's Private Investment
Companies (APIC). APIC will make sorely-needed private capital
available to larger businesses that are expanding, relocating,
or joint venturing in low- and moderate-income areas, both urban
and rural. We have submitted authorizing legislation for this
initiative, which must be authorized by June 30, 2000.
As we did last year, HUD is requesting
$37 million to fully fund APIC. These funds will subsidize and
secure $1 billion in privately issued, federally-guaranteed loans,
which will leverage another $500 million in private equity commitments,
for a total of $1.5 billion in new private sector funds that
will create an estimated 200,000 jobs.
EDI and Section 108 Guaranteed
Loans. The Community
Empowerment Fund streamlines two existing HUD programs that are
important tools for local communities to create jobs and attract
business investment: our Economic Development Initiative (EDI)
grants and Section 108 guaranteed loans. Overall, our budget
seeks $1.2 billion in loan guarantee authority under Section
108 of the Housing and Community Development Act.
This year, HUD is requesting
$100 million in EDI grant funds. The $100 million in EDI grants
will leverage an estimated $500 million in Section 108 guaranteed
loans, and create an estimated 73,000 jobs. These grants and
loans will leverage substantial additional private sector commitments.
Together, they will be used to create revolving loan funds for
small businesses, build inner-city shopping centers, retain or
expand industrial facilities, expand and modernize businesses,
and support other job creation or welfare-to-work initiatives.
Empowerment Zones. Over the past five years, led by Vice
President Al Gore, HUD has helped create Empowerment Zones and
Enterprise Communities (EZ/ECs) in more than 75 urban communities.
In almost all of these places, the EZ/ECs have achieved success
in leveraging private dollars and expanding job creation. The
EZs and ECs report that more than 30,000 people have been placed
in jobs as a result of EZ/EC programs, some $10 billion in public
and private sector investment has been committed to these places,
4,300 businesses have been served by capital or credit access
programs and another 4,500 businesses have received technical
In short, EZs and ECs have successfully
combined tax credits with federal grants and loans along with
local resources to attract billions of dollars n private sector
investments. Accordingly, we are requesting $150 million in mandatory
funding for the fifteen recently-selected Round II Empowerment
Zones, under Title XX of the Social Services Block Grant program.
The Administration is also proposing to designate ten additional
Empowerment Zones (eight urban and two rural). In addition, the
President has proposed significant extensions of the wage tax
credits and other tax incentives for business investment that
were such an important part of the success of the original Empowerment
Other Economic Development
Initiatives. HUD will
participate in the fourth phase of the National Community Development
Initiative (NCDI), to be funded at $24 million. This highly successful
public/private partnership will help build the capacity of CDCs
and other community-based organizations, allowing them to continue
their impressive track record as engines of economic growth in
In 1998, the Rural Housing and
Economic Development Program was created to fund innovative strategies
for rural housing and economic growth. The FY 2001 Budget requests
$27 million for this program, an increase of $2 million over
last year. We will continue to work closely with other Federal
departments, including Agriculture, Commerce, and the Appalachian
Regional Commission, to design effective responses to the needs
of our nation's rural communities.
In addition, the President's
budget supports the Mississippi Delta Economic Development initiative,
with proposed HUD funding at $22 million. This is a government-wide
effort to jumpstart the economy of a significant region of the
country that has been left behind by the economic boom of the
past decade. HUD will work in partnership with other Federal
agencies to capitalize on our special expertise in housing and
economic development to help revitalize the region's economy
We are also requesting an increase
in the successful Youthbuild program from $42.5 million to $75
million. Youthbuild provides young people with training in the
building trades, as well as assistance in securing high school
diplomas. We estimate that the program will help over 5,000 disadvantaged
youth rebuild their communities at the same time as they learn
vital job skills.
Addressing the Affordable
At the core of HUD's mission
is the charge to provide housing that is decent, safe and, affordable
to all. As I stated earlier, it is actually becoming more and
more difficult for low-income American families to afford a decent
place to live. Rents have soared in many regions with strong
economies. Worst case housing needs have reached an all-time
high of 5.4 million households, growing especially fast among
working families. As a result, there is a greater need than ever
for HUD's programs.
Our FY 2001 initiatives build
on recent efforts to reform and restore public trust in HUD's
housing programs. Historic legislation created the Mark-to-Market
program, which preserves project-based Section 8 housing while
bringing costs in line with the private market. We have cracked
down on program abuses. Our Real Estate Assessment Center is
on track towards meeting our goal of inspecting, for the first
time, all 40,000 properties in HUD's inventory of public housing
and multifamily insured or assisted housing. And more than 600
troubled properties have been referred to the new Enforcement
Center, with 45% of the cases resolved and revenues from fines
imposed in FY 99 up five times over the previous year.
Section 8 renewals and incremental
vouchers. HUD is requesting
$13.0 billion in new budget authority to renew existing Section
8 contracts, covering 2.6 million rental units. In addition,
we are requesting $690 million for 120,000 new vouchers, the
largest increase since 1981. Two years ago, HUD got back into
the housing business with 50,000 new vouchers focused on families
moving from welfare to work. We topped that last year with 60,000.
With this year's request, we are taking the next step. These
new vouchers will be targeted as follows: one half, or 60,000,
will be "Fair Share" vouchers, to be used by public
housing authorities to reduce their waiting lists; 32,000 will
be targeted to those moving from welfare to work; 18,000 will
be for homeless persons; and 10,000 will stimulate new housing
production that will be affordable to extremely low-income individuals.
New housing production vouchers. Our proposal for new vouchers includes
the first Section 8 housing production vouchers in 17 years.
For decades, national housing policy has shifted back and forth
between production-oriented programs (that focus on expanding
the supply of affordable housing) and income-based initiatives
(that provide cash assistance to enable lower-income families
to afford rental housing). As we enter the 21st century, it is
clear that both approaches are needed if America is to realize
the goal of decent housing for all. We are proposing 10,000 housing
production vouchers that, in tandem with the Low Income Housing
Tax Credit and FHA insurance, will leverage 40,000 total units
(subsidized and unsubsidized).
Public housing. Two years ago, Congress enacted landmark
bipartisan public housing legislation, that brought working families
into public housing without sacrificing our historic commitment
to low-income and very low-income persons. Through our new physical
inspections system, we have now inspected every property in public
housing - and the results are in: 84% of all public housing properties
are in sound or excellent condition, and customer satisfaction
surveys show that 75% of all public housing residents are satisfied
or very satisfied with their housing. That's a customer satisfaction
rating that beats the banking, the utility, and the retail industries.
HUD's FY 2001 budget continues
our efforts to transform public housing. We are requesting a
$54 million increase in public housing operating funds, to almost
$3.2 billion, or 100% of PFS. We also are proposing almost $2.96
billion for the Capital Fund to help public housing authorities
modernize or rehabilitate public housing units that are in need
of significant repairs or replacement, an increase of $86 million
over the FY 2000 enacted level.
Finally, we are requesting $625
million for HOPE VI, which is revolutionizing public housing
by replacing obsolete high rises or barracks-style projects with
new, mixed-income, mixed-use livable communities and housing
vouchers. Through 2000, the program is expected to approve the
demolition of 100,000 units. By 2003, our goal is to approve
145,000 units for replacement with hard units or with vouchers.
Home Investment Partnerships
Program (HOME). Since
it was created ten years ago, the HOME program has become a proven
housing rehabilitation and production tool in both urban and
rural America. We are requesting $1.65 billion, a $50 million
increase over last year's level. This will provide approximately
103,000 units of affordable housing for both owners and renters
through a combination of new construction, rehabilitation, acquisition
and tenant-based assistance.
Homeownership. Over the past three years we have done
more than ever to bring homeownership to underserved markets.
I'm proud of the record homeownership rate of 66.8%; but the
real success is what we've done to close the gap for minorities,
first time buyers, younger couples, residents of cities. We have
increased the affordable housing goals of the GSEs from 42% to
50%. Fifty percent of their total purchases must aid low- and
moderate-income Americans. With higher FHA loan limits enacted
by Congress, in FY 1999 we boosted FHA loans to a record 1.3
million - 40% of which were to minority buyers. Automated underwriting
has dramatically reduced underwriting times for applicants. And
the process for disposition of foreclosed properties has been
Our FY 2001 budget builds on
this record of success. In FY 2001, FHA is proposing to develop
a new hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage product. In the conventional
market, hybrid ARMs have proven very popular because they offer
the security of a fixed-interest rate for periods of 3 to10 years,
while they are more affordable than 30-year fixed-rate mortgages
because they carry lower interest rates. Adding this product
to FHA's lineup should help 55,000 additional families become
homeowners in FY2001, and will result in an additional $114 million
income for the Federal government.
Native American assistance. Native American housing needs will
be served through the Indian Housing Block Grant Program, and
the Indian Housing Loan Guarantee Program. Overall, HUD's request
for Native American programs is the largest ever -- $730 million,
an increase of $37 million, including an increase of $30 million,
to $650 million, for Indian Housing Block Grants.
Homelessness and Special Needs. Over the past seven years, we have
made significant progress on homelessness in America. When I
first came to HUD, the entire Federal government had been spending
about the same as just the state of New York on homeless assistance.
Since then, we've more than doubled the amount of federal homeless
But this is about more than just
the dollars and cents. It is about a new, comprehensive approach,
the Continuum of Care, that we've put in place - a holistic approach
aimed at moving people into permanent housing and self-sufficiency.
According to a study by Columbia University, we are now serving
14 times more people than we were in 1993. This progress was
recognized when last year the Continuum won the prestigious Innovations
in Government Award from Harvard University and the Ford Foundation.
By all measures, the Continuum
of Care is working. Accordingly, for FY 2001, we are proposing
$1.2 billion for homeless assistance, an increase of $180 million.
We also propose to shift the source of funds for Shelter Plus
Care contract renewals to the Section 8 Housing Certificate Fund,
creating additional savings for localities and homeless service
providers. This increase, plus 18,000 new rental vouchers to
create permanent housing solutions, will address the housing
needs of the most vulnerable Americans -- those making a transition
from the streets back into homes and community life.
We are also proposing an increase
of $28 million in the Housing Opportunities for People with Aids
program (HOPWA), to $260 million. The Centers for Disease Control
estimates that between 650,000 and 900,000 Americans are living
with the HIV infection. In addition to renewing all existing
programs, the funds requested in FY 2001 will provide for an
additional 5,100 housing units for persons with AIDS, bringing
the total to nearly 50,000 units nationally.
Elderly and the disabled. Our special needs programs also serve
the elderly and disabled. We are proposing $210 million for the
Section 811 program, which serves persons with disabilities,
increasing the FY 2000 enacted level by $9 million.
Recent decades have seen a dramatic
shift in America's population, with our elderly citizens leading
longer, healthier, and more active lives-a shift that will only
accelerate in coming decades. The challenge now is to meet the
housing needs of this rapidly expanding population of elders.
Just as we work to save Social Security, we must also work to
provide housing security for our seniors.
Last year, Congress enacted major
elements of HUD's Housing Security Plan for Older Americans as
part of our FY 2000 budget. This year, we are proposing a total
of $779 million for our elderly housing programs, an increase
of $69 million. We propose to increase funding for Section 202
housing to $629 million; $50 million to convert existing Section
202 housing to assisted living; $50 million for new assisted
living facilities; and another $50 million for service coordinators.
Within Section 202, we are also proposing up to $5 million to
fund a small number of "Intergenerational Learning Centers",
an exciting concept that will tap the skills and energy of seniors
to help meet the needs of children in daycare centers located
in Section 202 housing.
Justice For All -
Enforcing Fair Housing Laws
The Fair Housing Act prohibits
discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing
based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability,
or family status. Yet, even at the dawn of the 21st century,
housing discrimination, in both blatant and subtle forms, continues
to plague our country. Today's discrimination is often more subtle
than it was in the past, but it is no less real and no less damaging
to our social contract as a nation that values equality of opportunity
And now there's an even newer
venue for discrimination - the Internet. For all the good it
can do, the Internet can also be a distribution mechanism for
hate, prejudice and bigotry. We recently filed charges in a recent
Fair Housing case that combines all three types of discrimination:
the old style, graphic discrimination that is so shocking and
appalling, the newer, institutionalized discrimination, and the
even newer frontier of cyber-hate.
So we must do more. Two years
ago, President Clinton announced his commitment to doubling the
number of Fair Housing enforcement actions by the year 2000.
To help complete this effort, we propose to increase the Fair
Housing enforcement budget by 14 percent -- to a total of $50
Our budget request provides for
increased funding of both the Fair Housing Assistance Program
(FHAP) and the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP). In 2001,
the focus of FHIP will be on requirements for accessibility for
people with disabilities, with an emphasis on education and outreach
programs to housing providers.
In 2000, Fair Housing Partnerships
are being created to form a formal links between private Fair
Housing groups and state agencies. These partnerships will be
used in 2001 to provide training and technical assistance to
builders, developers, architects, building code officials, and
others on accessibility requirements through a nationwide Project
for Accessibility Training and Technical Assistance.
Creating Safe and
Our communities face a number
of threats to sustainable development, from uncontrolled growth
to crime and drug abuse, from environmental hazards and a lack
of energy efficiency in housing to blight and under-investment
in vital community infrastructure. Many of these challenges call
for cooperative regional solutions that span jurisdictional lines.
Promoting Livable Communities. Congestion, hours-long commutes, a
decrease in the amount of open space, pollution, and other environmental
issues all have a detrimental effect on the livability of American
communities. HUD recently convened a two-day conference, called
Bridging the Divide, to focus on how cities, suburbs, and the
federal government can work together to achieve more livable,
sustainable communities. More than 200 state and local government
officials and civic, community, and business leaders participated.
A key theme that emerged from the conference was the importance
of revitalizing the core of our of central city areas in order
to decrease the negative effects of suburban sprawl.
We are proposing a $25 million
Regional Connections initiative as a key part of the Administration's
livability initiative. These funds may be used by states, partnerships
of local governments, businesses and civic groups to develop
and pursue smarter growth strategies that cut across traditional
We also propose to double the
funding for the Brownfields Initiative, to $50 million in FY
2001. This will accelerate the Administration's previous commitment
to a four-year, $100 million program.
Because of an increased effort
on the part of the Federal government to reduce the exposure
of children and their families to lead poison, we are requesting
$120 million for HUD's Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control grant
program, a 50 percent increase. As part of a new national strategy
and by leveraging private funds, the goal is to eliminate childhood
lead poisoning - including eliminating lead hazards in approximately
2.3 million units of housing by the year 2010.
Promoting Safe Communities. Despite the extraordinary success we
have achieved in reducing crime rates in public housing and elsewhere,
crime and gun-related violence poses a major threat to HUD's
obligation to help ensure "a decent home and a suitable
living environment for every American family."
Funds from a variety of HUD programs-including
the Community Development Block Grant program-have long been
available to help make areas in and around communities HUD serves
safer. This year, however, HUD plans a particular focus on improving
the safety of America's neighborhoods.
A recent HUD report, In the Crossfire,
specifically looked at the problem of gun violence in public
housing. It found that public housing authorities have made extraordinary
progress in reducing crime of all kinds, in some cases by as
much as 70 or 80 percent. That is a result of strong local initiatives,
the Administration's community policing and crime prevention
efforts, and the added resources HUD has made available to public
housing authorities through the streamlined Drug Elimination
Grant program and other programs.
At the same time, our report
showed that, according to reliable data from the Department of
Justice National Crime Victimization Survey, public housing residents
are still two and a half times more likely to be victims of gun
violence than the population at large. That is a statistic that
cannot be ignored, and HUD's FY 2001 budget addresses it directly.
The FY 2001 budget proposes $345 million in Public Housing Drug
Elimination Grant funds to support efforts to reduce drug use
and related activity and other crime in and around public housing.
Of the total, HUD has requested $30 million for a Community Gun
Safety and Violence Reduction Initiative, which will help address
the critical issue of gun violence in and around the communities
Strengthening community partnerships. A key component of strong communities
is the strength and capacity of their organizations. Because
of the trust they build and the strong connections they forge,
community and faith-based institutions can be uniquely placed
to help bring about community change. We are proposing to support
the work of our Center for Interfaith and Community Partnerships
with a $20-million initiative to help community and faith-based
organizations expand their capacity to supply affordable housing,
create economic opportunity, and increase their use of HUD programs.
We are also proposing $69 million
in Section 107 technical assistance, including $37 million for
colleges and universities to carry out community and economic
development activities in their local communities. This will
include grant funds for several successful initiatives, including
Community Outreach Partnerships (COPC), and New Markets University
Partnerships in "new market" areas. Another $5 million
is proposed for new Tribal College Partnerships.
HUD's FY2001 budget reflects
the progress that HUD has made over the past three years. It
does more than add funds
to programs: it's a budget that contains innovative, smart, and
creative proposals for addressing the new challenges of the 21st
This budget gives those people
and places left behind a unique opportunity to share in this
nation's overall success -- not with bigger government, but with
smarter government. Not just with additional resources, but by
more effective use of the resources we have. Not by top-down
mandates, but through menus of opportunity. And not by displacing
private markets, but by clearing the way for them to invest.
HUD today is leaner, smarter,
more effective than ever. The nation is prospering economically
and at peace in the world. Our cities and rural areas, once lagging
behind, are doing better than they have in a decade. Now it's
time to build on this extraordinary success - time to bring this
prosperity to every corner of America.
I look forward to working with
this Committee, and with the Senate, to make this vision a reality,
not just for HUD, but for all Americans.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009