First award made under the Recovery CDBG program will revitalize neighborhoods and create jobs
WASHINGTON, DC – July 7, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — In an effort to stimulate community development and job growth, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced $1.8 million in funding to Birmingham, Alabama through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). The announcement came at the HUD field office in Birmingham, where the Secretary was joined by Congressman Artur Davis.
This is the first of 1200 Recovery Act-funded grants awarded through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, which primarily benefit low- to moderate-income families living in these communities. CDBG enables state and local governments to undertake a wide range of activities intended to create suitable living environments, provide affordable housing and create economic opportunities. Under the Recovery Act, recipients give priority to prudent projects that can award contracts based on bids within 120 days of the grant agreement. A total of $1 billion will be awarded nationwide by HUD in Recovery Act Community Development Block Grants.
“Today, we make another critical investment in the economic recovery of our communities most affected by the national economic crisis,” said Donovan. “I am proud to announce the first Community Development Block Grant going to the City of Birmingham, which will create jobs and help to revitalize the city’s hardest hit neighborhoods. President Obama and I are anxious to put this money to work long-term, sustainable community development.”
Birmingham, specifically, will use its $1.8 million in Recovery Act CDBG funds to award rehabilitation grants to homeowners who are at least 30% below Birmingham’s median family income to make critical home repairs. This funding will also create jobs for small, local contractors in Birmingham, and will continue to provide a steady stream of work for those contractors over the next 24 months.
President Obama directed all Recovery Act funding to be spent responsibly and in a transparent manner in order to provide a necessary economic boost, create jobs, and strengthen America’s middle class. In a letter to CDBG recipients of Recovery Act funds, Donovan wrote, “In accepting these funds, it is imperative that you be good stewards of these precious taxpayer dollars by focusing your efforts on the Recovery Act goals of investing in infrastructure that will create or sustain jobs in the near-term and generate maximum economic benefits in the long-term.”
Since 1974, CDBG has provided more than $127 billion to state and local governments to target their own community development priorities. The rehabilitation of affordable housing and the construction and improvement of public facilities have traditionally been the largest uses of CDBG funds although the program is also an important catalyst for job growth and business opportunities. Annual CDBG funds are distributed to communities according to statutory formulas based on population, poverty, pre-1940 housing stock, growth lag, and housing overcrowding.
HUD is committed to implementing Recovery Act investments swiftly and effectively as they generate tens of thousands of jobs, modernize homes to make them energy efficient, and help the families and communities hardest hit by the economic crisis. The Recovery Act includes $13.61 billion for projects and programs administered by HUD, nearly 75 percent of which was allocated to state and local recipients only eight days after President Obama signed the Act into law. The CDBG funding was among the 75 percent that was allocated during that time. Now as grant recipients’ spending plans are approved, HUD is officially making funding available to spend. The remaining 25 percent of HUD Recovery Act funds will be awarded through a competitive process in the coming weeks and months.
In addition, Secretary Donovan and the Department are committed to providing the highest level of transparency possible as Recovery Act funds are administered. It is vitally important that the American people are fully aware of how their tax dollars are being spent and can hold their federal leaders accountable. Every dollar of Recovery Act funds HUD spends can be reviewed and tracked at HUD’s Recovery Act website. The full text of HUD’s funding notices and tracking of future performance of these grants is also available at HUD’s Recovery Act website.
HUD is the nation’s housing agency committed to sustaining homeownership; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation’s fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.