Public housing authorities meet key deadline and see positive results
U.S. Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan has announced that over 3,100 public housing authorities across the U.S. successfully met a critical funding deadline outlined in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). As a result, the nearly $3 billion in Public Housing Capital Fund grants awarded through the Recovery Act one year ago are being used to make significant improvements to tens of thousands of public housing units nationwide; creating jobs and growing the economy. "Strict deadlines, such as this one, were written into the Recovery Act to ensure that funds would be used to meet the top goal of putting Americans back to work as quickly as possible," said Donovan. "I am proud of the work HUD and public housing authorities across the country did to meet this critical deadline. It speaks to the commitment they have to improve affordable housing and grow local economies. Families and communities are already seeing new windows, roofs, cost-saving energy-efficient appliances, and much-needed jobs." To date, as a result of this critical Recovery Act funding, public housing authorities reported creating or retaining nearly 9,000 jobs and developing or rehabilitating 150,000 public housing units in hard-hit neighborhoods throughout the country. Just one year after being awarded, Recovery Act public housing funds, which were intended to help jumpstart the economy during the worst recession in a generation, are also allowing housing agencies to address the long-standing capital needs of public housing, create jobs, and increase energy efficiency. On March 17, 2009, less than 30 days after the Recovery Act was signed into law, HUD provided nearly $3 billion in Public Housing Capital funds to over 3,100 public housing authorities nationwide. The funds were allocated through an established formula, effectively more than doubling the Department's annual support of local housing authorities. Specific guidelines in the law required that all funding awarded to public housing authorities through the Recovery Act be "obligated," or committed to specific projects or activities, one year after it was awarded, or the funding must be recaptured by HUD and redistributed to other agencies in compliance with the requirements. All public housing authorities were able to meet that deadline by either obligating 100 percent of their funds or voluntarily returning all or a portion of their funds by the deadline. Of the $2.985 billion that was awarded to 3,134 public housing authorities, $2.981 billion has been obligated and $3.246 million was voluntarily returned. HUD is currently determining the redistribution process for the funding returned. The 172 'troubled' housing authorities that received funding all met the deadline as well, with only two troubled agencies returning all or a portion of their funds by March 17. HUD's Capital Fund Program provides annual funding to public housing authorities to develop, finance, and/or modernize the public housing in their communities. This funding can be used to make large-scale improvements such as new roofs and for the replacement of plumbing and electrical systems to increase energy efficiency. The Recovery Act included $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, including public housing capital funding. The remaining 25 percent is being awarded through competitive grant programs. To date, 98 percent of HUD's Recovery Act funds are in the hands of local communities, being used to improve housing and neighborhoods, while creating jobs. 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. 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 Web site. The full text of HUD's funding notices and tracking of future performance of these grants is also available at HUD's Recovery Act Web site. For more information, visit www.hud.gov.