Prepared Remarks of Secretary Shaun Donovan at an NSP Press Conference with Congressman Perlmutter
Lewis Court Apartments, Golden, Colorado
Monday, May 14, 2012
Thank you, Jennifer, for that introduction and for your leadership with “Dr. COG.”
I’d also like to thank HUD’s own Rick Garcia -- who’s really putting the “regionalism” in “Regional Administrator.”
Thank you, Congressman Perlmutter -- for that introduction, for inviting me to see this extraordinary development and for your leadership bringing affordable housing to Colorado families.
Many thanks also to Alan Feinstein with the Jefferson County Housing Authority, Elizabeth Johnson as well as Danny Throckmorton with Palace Construction and Becky DeHerrera.
Not long ago this property was a vacant, abandoned lot -- rife with vandalism. An eyesore for the neighborhood -- and the victim, like so many properties over these last few years, of an economic crisis that stalled thousands of housing developments across the country.
But thanks to investments through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, as you can see for yourself, today this property isn’t an eyesore.
It’s an asset to the community -- a brand new 50 unit senior-living facility scheduled to open at the end of the month.
With Colorado home to one of the fasting growing senior populations in the country, the need for this kind of affordable housing was great. Indeed, without so much as a marketing campaign, Lewis Court had seven times the number of applicants for housing here as it had units available.
But it isn’t just quality affordable housing Lewis Court will offer Colorado seniors like Becky DeHerrera -- but also the independence and dignity they deserve.
Indeed, with transportation services and a service provider on site, seniors here will be able to shop at the grocery store or to visit the doctor.
Not only that, but by ensuring Lewis Court has been built to “green” standards--with Energy Star appliances and light fixtures and a “green roof”--seniors here know they will be saving their hard-earned dollars on energy costs when they move in.
Just as importantly, investments like these are providing a lifeline to the nearly 1 out of 5 construction workers looking for a job -- with neighborhood stabilization investments creating or preserving more than 1,100 good-paying construction jobs throughout Colorado, including 180 jobs on this property alone.
As one of the early champions of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, Congressman Perlmutter knows how powerful investments like these are.
He knows that three-quarters of the communities that had targeted investments like this one saw vacancy rates go down -- and property values go up.
So does President Obama. That’s why he recently sent Congress legislation that would create a new “Project Rebuild” -- leveraging private capital and other public-private collaborations that put people to work rehabilitating homes, businesses and communities.
Project Rebuild would build on efforts like this one by creating 200,000 jobs -- including more than 2,300 here in Colorado.
It would allow for-profit organizations like Palace Construction to apply directly for funds, ensuring businesses who have participated in neighborhood stabilization efforts can be full partners in this transformation.
Unfortunately, as the Congressman knows all too well, there are Members of Congress in Washington who seem to think neighborhood investments like this one can wait.
That seniors like Becky DeHerrera can wait.
That more than 1 million unemployed construction workers can wait.
That homeowners can wait -- homeowners who have watched their home prices sink by as much as $10,000 simply because there’s a foreclosure on their block.
Well, I’m here today because this community knows we can’t wait. Like Congressman Perlmutter, I believe we can help these families and neighborhoods -- not in the next few months, or the next couple of years, but now, when they need it most.
That’s what Ed Perlmutter is fighting for.
He won’t take “no” for an answer -- and neither will President Obama. That’s why I’m so proud to be here today. Thank you -- and I’d love to take your questions.