"HUD to Hand Out Statewide Assistance for Rental Assistance, Job Creation, Homeless Help and Housing"

“Communities throughout Washington will receive an estimated $239,550,000 in assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Fiscal Year 2000 for rental assistance vouchers for poor families, job creation, assistance to homeless people, and public housing operating subsidies, according to HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo. The amount totals $11,857,00 more in assistance received from HUD for these programs in Fiscal Year 1999.Washington communities are to receive millions of dollars in HUD funds from other programs as well, including renewals of rental assistance subsidies.The increased assistance will bring an additional 1,207 new rental assistance vouchers to Washington, create an estimated 295 additional new jobs during the year, and assist an estimated additional 1,205 homeless people get housing and work toward self-sufficiency, according to HUD.The HUD assistance is contained in the department’s Fiscal Year 2000 budget signed into law by President Clinton last week.The budget provides $1.5 billion more for HUD programs than the department received in Fiscal Year 1999, but does not include any funding for Tacoma’s Strategic Planning Community. According to a plan announced last January by Vice President Al Gore, the Tacoma Strategic Planning Community, including portions of the City of Tacoma and Lakewood, Puyallup Tribal Lands, and unincorporated Pierce County, would receive $3 million in the Fiscal Year 2000 for economic and community development.Strategic Planning Community programs were to have been overseen by the Tacoma Empowerment Consortium, an organization originally created to administer economic and community development programs under a federal Enterprise Community designation. With no funds from HUD’s now non-funded SPC initiative, the TEC faces a difficult future, but has indicated it will attempt to continue its economic development and jobs programs.The new HUD budget includes:- 60,000 new rental assistance vouchers, which HUD calls the largest expansion of affordable housing in seven years. Also included on the housing front is increased funding for public housing and an initiative to protect residents of subsidized housing opting out of the Section 8 program.- A housing security plan for older Americans that would enable HUD to develop a broad range of housing options for senior citizens.- Job creation and economic revitalization initiatives that include the new America’s Private Investment Companies initiative, a second round of new Urban and Rural Empowerment Zones, and redevelopment of brownfield industrially contaminated sites. Strategic Planning Communities, such as the TEC’s SPC program, were excluded.- Increased funding for public housing authorities, homeless assistance and prevention programs, and programs to mitigate housing discrimination.- A provision making HUD’s Community Builders a permanent part of the department.”