MALONEY AND KING HAIL 2001 HOUSING BUDGET, SPOTLIGHT NEW YORK SUCCESS STORIES, URGE FUTURE INITIATIVES FOR NEW AFFORDABLE HOUSING
NEW YORK - Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY) and Charlie King, the Regional Director of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) highlighted the best HUD budget in 20 years, today, on the last day of the Clinton administration. Maloney noted that HUD's 2001 budget marks the highest funding level approved by Congress since 1981 and a 16% increase over fiscal year 2000.
While recognizing HUD's budget as a major victory, Maloney also stressed the need to fight for stronger and more adequate resources for new affordable housing. Maloney and King hosted a tenant's awards ceremony today at Renwick Gardens on East 29th Street, with guests from the Securitad building on East 31st Street as well. Both buildings remain within Section 8 affordable housing programs as a result of increased funds to HUD and an innovative program called the "Mark up to Market Initiative."
Honorees included, Mirtha Monterrosa, President of the Renwick Gardens Tenants Association, Dian Meckler, the initial tenant leader at Renwick who raised awareness about the impending crisis, Meckler's daughter, Arielle Meckler, who received a Youth Service award for her participation, Lauren Gelber, the tenants leader at the Securitad building, and Renwick tenant leaders: Yiming Shi, Joe Sims, Marty Sesmer, and Toby Edwards.
Maloney said: "The very existence of this community here at Renwick Gardens and Securitad is a result of innovative programs and an increased commitment to affordable housing supported by President Clinton, Congress, and the HUD administration. Affordable housing is a top concern for New York City residents and it is an absolute priority of mine. The HUD Budget for FY 2001 represents a major victory for low and middle-income households with $32.4 billion in program funding, an increase of 4.2 billion from last year."
King said, "This is my last official act as the Secretary's Representative to the region and there is no place I would rather be than with the people of Renwick Gardens and Securitad which are two of my favorite success stories in the city. Certainly, there has been no higher priority for HUD Secretary Cuomo than creating and preserving affordable housing nationwide, and particularly in high cost areas, such as in New York City."
"Our commitment to federal housing programs helps New York's working families," Maloney said, "while preserving the diverse character and dynamic economy of our city. The 'Mark-up-to-market' initiative, which I advocated strongly for in Congress, allowed HUD to negotiate a seven year contract extension with the owners of the Securitad building on East 31st Street and a five year extension with the owners of Renwick Gardens on 29th Street. These new contracts bring certainty and stability to area residents, sustaining the economic vitality of entire neighborhoods."
"HUD's 'Mark Up to Market' initiative is one of our most successful tools for encouraging owners to remain in the Section 8 program," King said, "thereby preserving affordable housing for many low-income residents who would not ordinarily be able to find alternative housing, especially in places like mid-Manhattan with its high market rents."
"Even with these victories," Maloney continued, "last year's budget increases do not go far enough. We still face a housing crisis and thousands of New Yorkers continue the struggle to retain housing while supporting families and other costs of living. Our city's tight housing market hurts those in low and middle-income groups the most. That is why I will continue to advocate tirelessly in Congress for adequate housing resources and why I pledge to work for programs to create new affordable housing in this city."
The 2001 HUD budget includes:
. $13 billion to renew all existing individual vouchers nationwide - approximately 2.6 million units of affordable housing - with $725 million directed to New York City alone for 144,634 units,
. $453 million for about 80,000 new Section 8 vouchers nationwide - up from 60,000 the previous year, and 50,000 in 1999 - the largest expansion of affordable housing in more than 15 years, with $9.3 million directed to New York City for 1,663 units,
. $1.125 billion for homeless assistance and prevention programs, a $105 million increase from last year, with $78.4 million directed to New York City to assist more than 126,000 homeless individuals,
. $5.1 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program, providing local communities with resources for local community development priorities, a $258 million increase over last year with $263.9 million directed to New York City,
. $3.2 billion for operating grants to maintain 1.3 million units of existing public housing and increased resources for the "Mark-up-to-market" initiative which allows HUD to subsidize rents at market rates for properties in opt-out situations
Congresswoman Maloney is a member of the House Banking and Financial Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over housing. Maloney has consistently fought for affordable housing in Congress.