Washington, DC – September 23, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — In the Obama Administration’s continued effort to stimulate community development and job growth, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today awarded $4 million to five Rhode Island communities, plus the State of Rhode Island, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). This funding is part of $620 million awarded nationwide.
The Recovery Act made available a total of $1 billion through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. On July 16th, HUD announced the first round of grants under this program to nearly 700 communities, totaling $360 million. With today’s announcement, all $1 billion are now in the hands of communities, working to create jobs and revitalize neighborhoods.
“Today, I am proud to announce that HUD has moved quickly to obligate more than $10 billion in Recovery Act funds,” said Donovan. “Nearly three quarters of our Recovery Act funds are now available to communities across the country and are being put to work creating jobs, making homes more energy efficient, and strengthening neighborhoods.”
CDBG enables state and local governments to undertake a wide range of activities intended to create suitable living environments, provide affordable housing and create economic opportunities. Under the Recovery Act, recipients give priority to prudent and responsible projects for which contracts through a bidding process within 120 days of the grant agreement.
HUD is committed to implementing Recovery Act investments swiftly and effectively, with the goal of generating tens of thousands of jobs and helping the families and communities hardest hit by the economic crisis. The Recovery Act includes $13.61 billion for projects and programs administered by HUD, most of which is funneled through existing programs, such as the Community Development Block Grant program. Nearly 75 percent of that funding was allocated to state and local recipients only eight days after President Obama signed the Act into law. Now, just over six months later, HUD has obligated, or awarded, nearly 75 percent of that funding to states and communities across the country. $10 billion out of $13.6 billion is now in the hands of grantees, available for spending.
President Obama directed all Recovery Act funding to be spent responsibly and in a transparent manner in order to provide a necessary economic boost, create jobs, and strengthen America’s middle class. In a letter to CDBG recipients of Recovery Act funds, Donovan wrote, “In accepting these funds, it is imperative that you be good stewards of these precious taxpayer dollars by focusing your efforts on the Recovery Act goals of investing in infrastructure that will create or sustain jobs in the near-term and generate maximum economic benefits in the long-term.”
Since 1974, CDBG has provided more than $127 billion to state and local governments to target their own community development priorities. The rehabilitation of affordable housing and the construction and improvement of public facilities have traditionally been the largest uses of CDBG funds, although the program is also an important catalyst for job growth and business opportunities. Annual CDBG funds are distributed to communities according to statutory formulas based on population, poverty, pre-1940 housing stock, growth lag, and housing overcrowding.
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 website. The full text of HUD’s funding notices and tracking of future performance of these grants is also available at HUD’s Recovery Act website
HUD is the nation’s housing agency committed to sustaining homeownership; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation’s fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.