Prepared Remarks for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan at the NYCHA Press Conference
New York, N.Y.
Monday, March 15th, 2010
Thank you so much. It’s a great privilege to join my colleagues as we celebrate the steps we’re taking to improve and preserve affordable rental housing for New York City families.
It’s been almost twenty years since the idea of federal support for these NYCHA buildings was first proposed so this day has been a long time coming and--as you can see from the folks around me--it has involved many players at all levels of government.
But I’m proud that it is the Obama administration that has made it happen and I want to particularly recognize New York’s congressional delegation -- Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congresswoman Velazquez for their efforts, the state for passing the necessary legislation and Mayor Bloomberg and NYCHA Chairman Rhea for their determination to make this a reality.
The funding we are announcing today is thanks to President Obama’s Recovery Act.
When the President signed the Recovery Act into law last year, it was designed to do three things: create jobs, help those harmed by the economic crisis, and lay a new foundation to make America competitive in the 21st century economy.
Indeed, in the past year, it was the Recovery Act that was largely responsible for staving off a Second Great Depression.
Let’s not forget that before President Obama signed the Recovery Act into law, America was losing 750,000 jobs a month. Since then, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reported that the Recovery Act has created as many as 2.4 million jobs throughout the country.
If you need any evidence of that, you only need to come here to see for yourself how Recovery Act investments are creating good-paying jobs and improving affordable housing across New York City.
Of the $4 billion HUD invested in public housing through the Recovery Act, NYCHA received some $423 million -- the single-largest grant to any public housing authority in the nation.
Today’s announcement of over $100 million of Recovery Act funds into NYCHA buildings will help rehabilitate over 20,000 public housing units in 21 developments across the city. And the $100 million in Recovery Act funds will leverage an additional $410 billion dollars from public and private partners including the State of New York, the New York City Housing Development Corporation and Citibank.
These funds will create 370 jobs in an economic climate where they are so desperately needed. That’s 370 families who without the Recovery Act would have had nowhere to turn -- no paycheck to put food on the table or pay the rent, no money to get that child’s winter cough looked at by the doctor.
But we’re not standing here today just because of the Recovery Act and the jobs it’s creating -- we’re also here because, thanks to President Obama’s leadership, we’re putting government squarely back in the business of producing and preserving affordable housing.
Indeed, from serving a record number of people through our Section 8 program to providing a billion dollars to capitalize the National Housing Trust Fund in our proposed budget, HUD is renewing its commitment to affordable rental housing.
And the agreement we are also announcing today is clear proof of the Obama administration’s commitment. HUD will make 12,000 NYCHA homes eligible for Public Housing Operating Subsidies --estimated to be an additional $75 million of federal funds annually.
This announcement ensures that the operating costs of these homes won’t come at the expense of the 180,000 affordable homes already in NYCHA’s portfolio -- preserving affordable housing in New York City and putting NYCHA on a stronger foundation for years to come.
I’m proud to be a part of this effort -- helping New York City recover from this economic crisis and providing families with the affordable rental housing they need at this critical moment.