Five years ago, a little less than a month after taking office, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. At the time, the private sector had cut almost four million jobs and the country was experiencing the worst recession since the Great Depression. The Recovery Act improved roads and infrastructure helping long-term growth, temporarily cut taxes for 160 million working Americans, and saved or created six million jobs. You can read a full report from the Council of Economic Advisers on the effects of the Recovery Act here.
The Recovery Act included $13.61 billion for projects and programs administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Within eight days of President Obama signing the Recovery Act, HUD had allocated nearly 75 percent of the funds. The remaining 25 percent of funds were awarded through a competitive process. Recovery Act investments in HUD programs generated tens of thousands of jobs, modernized public housing and private homes to make them more energy efficient and cost-effective, and provided relief and opportunities to the families and communities hardest hit by the Great Recession.
The Neighborhood Stabilization Program
The Recovery Act appropriated $2 billion for HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which helped our hardest hit neighborhoods begin to recover from the economic recession by purchasing and redeveloping foreclosed and abandoned homes and residential properties. This funding, known as NSP2, was awarded in an innovative competition to state and local governments and non-profits.
To date, the fifty-six NSP2 grantees have already completed almost half of the 27,644 projected housing units that will be treated. So far, 3,308 structures have been demolished; 5,409 units have been rehabilitated; 2,566 new units have been constructed; and 1,479 households have provided assistance to purchase a home. The NSP2 program created 25,100 direct jobs and has supported hundreds of contractors, suppliers, and other small businesses.
The Recovery Act appropriated $1.5 billion for HUD’s Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP), which helped over 1.3 million individuals and families avoid homelessness or obtain housing after becoming homeless. Upon exiting HPRP, approximately 87 percent of households exited to permanent housing. Because of HPRP, many communities improved local collaboration leading to more efficient service and better care.
Increasing Energy Efficiency
Through the Recovery Act’s $4.0 billion Public Housing Capital Fund, HUD was able to increase energy efficiency of the nation's public housing stock and save billions in utility costs. In total, 1,627 new energy efficient units were built, 22,428 energy efficient units were created and approximately 53,000 energy efficient units were completed by installing energy conservation measures.
HUD’s Green Retrofit Program (GRP) made $250 million in grants and low cost loans available to affordable housing property owners in 37 states. Through GRP: 221 properties with over 19,000 affordable units were retrofit to be greener, healthier, and more efficient. The properties were projected to save 27 percent on utilities, on average, as a result of the retrofits completed. So far properties participating in GRP have achieved savings in excess of 20 percent saving over $5.0 million annually in utility costs.
Miami, Florida: Southern Florida, including Miami, was awarded $89.4 million in NSP2 funding from the Recovery Act. In addition, the Miami-Dade Public Housing Agency (MDPHA), the sixth largest housing agency in the nation, received more than $19 million in stimulus funds to improve the quality of life for its public housing residents.
Miami Dade County’s Homeless Trust received $7 million to assist homeless individuals and families needing emergency, temporary, and transitional housing. The Office of Community and Economic Development for MDC received $4.9 million for the CDBG program that funds infrastructure improvements; offering loans to small businesses; and providing foreclosure prevention services.
Denver, Colorado: Denver was awarded $29.3 million in NSP2 funds. The Denver Office of Economic Development received $19,000,000 and Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. received $10,200,000 to address residential foreclosure and to spur the revitalization of Denver neighborhoods heavily impacted by foreclosure.
In addition, the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) received $10,000,000 in Recovery Act competitive capital funds for plans that include increasing energy conservation, green building, and transit-oriented development (TOD) activities. These funds were used, specifically, as part of comprehensive redevelopment of the La Alma/Lincoln Park neighborhood into a sustainable, affordable, energy-efficient, transit-oriented development.
Columbus, Ohio: Columbus was awarded $23.2 million in NSP2 to help areas struggling with foreclosures and vacant housing. That total included $10.3 million to help Wagenbrenner Development to build 305 homes and 300 apartments in the Weinland Park neighborhood. Money from HUD’s Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program (HPRP) allowed Columbus’s Community Shelter Board (CSB) to more effectively and efficiently serve homeless citizens in Columbus.