Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs - April 2017

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The U.S. Senate confirmed Ben Carson as the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) March 2 and he was sworn in later that day by Vice President Mike Pence. Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, was approved by a vote of 58-41. He will oversee a department that has approximately 8,000 employees and an annual budget for 2017 of nearly $49 billion for various programs including rental assistance and investments to combat urban poverty. Among Carson’s first actions was a “listening tour” of select communities and HUD offices around the nation.

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The largest public housing complex in Wisconsin will be rebuilt as part of HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, it was announced Feb. 10. The second phase of redevelopment in Milwaukee will see two new housing projects break ground this year–the 60-apartment Victory Manor and the 30-townhouse Westlawn Gardens. They are part of a move to turn the area that once housed 394 low-income public housing units into more than 700 mixed-income apartments. Victory Manor, which will feature 54 affordable and six market-rate apartments, received $6.2 million in low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) equity. Westlawn Gardens, which will be all affordable housing, received $2.6 million in LIHTC equity. The development received a $30 million choice neighborhood grant from HUD in 2015.

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HUD announced Feb. 13 that it will speed federal disaster assistance to low-income renters in Louisiana who were forced from their homes due to severe storms, tornadoes and winds. HUD said it was exploring the opportunity to streamline its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs as well as several other relief items concerning foreclosure relief, mortgage insurance and Section 108 loan guarantee assistance.

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HUD announced Feb. 8 that it will make grants available to help eliminate dangerous lead-based paint hazards from lower-income homes in order to protect young children. HUD’s Lead Based Paint Hazard Control program and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration program will offer grants to states, local governments and the private sector. It expects to make approximately 32 awards under the programs. Prospective grantees can submit their applications electronically at www.grants.gov.