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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release October 3, 1997


TAMPA, FL -- Continuing the Administration's unprecedented commitment to supporting and strengthening our nation's communities, Vice President Al Gore today (10/3) announced the award of $66.3 million in grants to help rebuild and improve public housing in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Orlando, FL.

"The grants I am announcing today will help Florida families build better lives and revitalize some of the region's poorest areas," the Vice President said. "President Clinton and I are committed to transforming the worst public housing developments in America into outposts of opportunity for our citizens."

Specifically, the Department of Housing and Urban Development grants in Florida will be awarded to Tampa ($32.5 million), St. Petersburg ($27 million), and Orlando ($6.8 million). The grants are a part of HUD's HOPE VI program, a nationwide HUD effort that provides funds to local communities to transform obsolete public housing units into new mixed-income neighborhoods.

HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo said, "We are creating a new concept of public housing for the new century. Besides removing blighted public housing from the urban landscape, we will breathe new life into cities by building safe neighborhoods that will attract more businesses, more jobs and more residents. Our goal is to renew hope, strengthen neighborhoods and stabilize communities."

While the vast majority of the 3,400 public housing authorities around the nation provide safe and affordable housing to low-income families, some older public housing developments have deteriorated over the years, becoming magnets for crime and roadblocks to efforts to revitalize the surrounding area. To help solve this problem, the Vice President said HUD will award a total of $498.3 million in HOPE VI grants to public housing authorities in 27 cities nationwide.

The Vice President chairs the Community Empowerment Board, which oversees various initiatives designed to bring together distressed communities to develop plans for revitalization. In 1994, the Vice President announced that nine empowerment zones and more than a hundred enterprise communities would be designated across the nation to receive special federal assistance in partnership with local private and public aid. Both the EZ/EC program and the HOPE VI grants are part of President Clinton's overall urban policy initiative.

The $32.5 million grants to the Tampa Housing Authority will be used to build a new 900-unit development made up of 800 apartments (including 200 for senior citizens) and 100 homes for sale on the sites of the Ponce de Leon and College Hill public housing developments. The 1,350 units at Ponce de Leon and College Hill will be demolished. In addition, a 300-unit development will be built at another site, consisting of 50 homes for sale and 250 apartments. The plan will be implemented through a public-private partnership between Cornerstone Housing, the Tampa Housing Authority and Malcolm Pirnie, Inc.

The $27 million grants to the St. Petersburg Housing Authority will be used to redesign the 446-unit Jordan Park public housing development. Fifty-nine units in nine buildings will be demolished and the remainder will be remodeled into 223 larger units. Jordan Park's landscape will be improved through architectural changes, such as creating open space, modifying roof lines, and adding extensions and recesses to provide a variety of unit types. In addition, 177 new units will be developed at other sites, include 115 apartments and 62 homes that can be sold to pubic housing residents and other low-income families.

The $6.8 million grants to the Orlando Housing Authority will be used to revitalize the public housing development formerly known as Orange Villa. The new development, to be renamed Colonial Park, will have 115 apartments. Another 25 apartments and 25 homes available for home ownership will be available elsewhere for public housing residents.

Note: For more information on these grants and other Department of Housing and Urban Development grants, contact HUD Public Affairs at (202) 708-0685.