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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release September 17, 1999



     Washington, D.C. -- Vice President Al Gore announced today $5.65

million in grants to fourteen Hispanic serving colleges and universities to help rehabilitate low-income neighborhoods near their campuses and bring new opportunities to students and working families living there.

"Helping these higher learning institutions forge partnerships with neighborhoods is another way that this Administration is investing in Latino communities in need," said Vice President Al Gore. "These grants will work to creating more livable communities for working families and students."

Under the Hispanic Serving Institutions Assisting Communities Program (HSIAC) eligible activities must: benefit primarily low- and moderate-income residents, help prevent or eliminate slums or blight, or meet an urgent community development need. Funded HSIAC projects will include: building a community learning center that will house, among other activities: creating a center for child care providers; building a youth center and offering social, cultural, and recreational programs there; turning a vacant lot into a gymnasium; creating a business assistance center for Hispanic small business owners; establishing a comprehensive culinary arts building in an abandoned school to provide career training to welfare-to-work individuals; and rehabilitating a building that will serve as a community-building information technology center.

"These grants will tear down barriers and create partnerships between colleges and surrounding neighborhoods, harnessing the talents of professors and students to benefit people and places in need." said Housing Secretary Cuomo.

The recipients of the Hispanic Service Institutions Assisting Communities Program (HSIAC) grants, administered through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, are in the following cities: Tuscon, AZ; Gilroy, CA; Santa Ana, CA; Alamosa, CO; Miami, FL; Lawrence, MA; Paterson, NJ; Las Cruces, NM; Silver City, NM; Bronx, NY; San Juan, PR; San Antonio, TX; and Edinburg, TX.

The HSIAC grants are part of President Clinton's America Goes Back To School Initiative. This annual effort focuses on improving education across America and provides and special opportunity for communities to reaffirm their commitment to learning and education.

HSIAC applicants must be accredited, nonprofit 2 and 4 year institutions of higher learning that have at least 25 percent Hispanic full-time undergraduate enrollment, with at least 50 percent of these Hispanic students being low-income individuals. Approximately 200 HSI-designated schools are eligible to apply for the HUD program. A total of 36 colleges and universities applied for $14.4 million in HSIAC grants.

The grants announced today will go to:

Arizona        Pima County Community College       $388,960
California     Gavilan College                     $399,953
               Santa Ana College                   $400,000
Colorado       Adams State College                 $342,310
Florida        Barry University                    $399,999
               Florida International University    $400,000
Massachusetts  Northern Essex Community College    $400,000
New Jersey     Passaic County Community College    $400,000
New Mexico     New Mexico State University         $370,451
               Western New Mexico University       $344,878
New York       Bronx Community College             $400,000
Puerto Rico    University of Puerto Rico           $399,557
Texas          St. Philip's College                $397,867
               University of Texas-Pan American    $398,900

Four training sessions were held through the country'in San Juan, Miami, San Antonio, and Santa Ana, in 1999 during the application solicitation process, to inform potential applicants about this new program. Over 160 people, representing over 100 schools, attended the sessions.

Attached are more detailed summaries of all of the funded projects.


      Hispanic-serving Institutions Assisting Communities Program
                            FY 1999 Awardees

Pima County Community College, Tucson, AZ $399,960

Pima County Community College will receive a Hispanic-serving Institutions Assisting Communities Program (HSIAC) grant of $399,960 to undertake activities designed to help revitalize the City of South Tucson, a U.S. Department of Justice Weed and Seed Community. South Tucson is a small, predominantly Hispanic city where community resolve and social fabric are struggling to overcome high levels of poverty, violence, street crime, and delinquency.

The grant will be used to transform an ordinary schoolyard into a community oasis. The oasis will include environmentally-appropriate landscaping, a Peace Patio, and construction of a community garden, with a state-of-the-art classroom at a local elementary school. HSIAC funds will also be used to upgrade the computer lab at a nearby model alternative education and vocational arts high school. In addition, the grant will be used to link the community through fine arts activities including community murals, mosaic art, and a drama production facilitated by students in the College's Center for the Arts.

Pima's partners include the City of South Tucson, the County Department of Community Services, the Tucson Unified School District, and the local Weed and Seed Steering Committee. These partners will be providing matching funds totaling almost $500,000.

Contact: Stan Steinman, 520-206-4953

Gavilan College, Gilroy, CA $399,953

Gavilan College will receive a Hispanic-serving Institutions Assisting Communities Program grant of $399,953 to create a Community Learning Center. The Center will be housed in an existing building, the Old City Hall, located in the heart of downtown Gilroy. The grant will cover the building lease, retrofitting it into high technology classrooms and teaching kitchens, as well as administration of the Center.

The target area is a HUD-designated Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy area, with a population that is over three-quarters Hispanic, with almost 70% of the residents considered to be very low-income. The Center will provide special economic development activities including: short-term jobs skills training; a technology learning lab; a microenterprise program, bakery and coffeehouse incubators, and an education information center.

Contact: Susan Murphey Paterson, 408-848-4770

Santa Ana College, Santa Ana, CA $400,000

Santa Ana College will receive a Hispanic-serving Institutions Assisting Communities Program grant of $400,000 to create a Microenterprise Center for Child Care Providers in the Santa Ana Empowerment Zone. The Zone contains a severe pocket of poverty, with many female-headed households. The Center would increase the amount of child care available to these families, while also providing new business opportunities among this most needy population.

The Center is the first comprehensive effort to increase the number and quality of family child care providers by removing all of the barriers to participation by the population most likely to benefit from this career: women with limited or no assets, who have little formal education, and may not speak English, but have a great interest in children and the need for economic self-sufficiency. Unique aspects of this program include: the provision of bilingual training and preparation for establishing a family child care business, access to small loans ($250-$5000) for business start-up and to meet health and safety requirements for licensing, ongoing technical assistance in business management and child care, and the creation of a peer group that will meet regularly.

Contact: Sara Lundquist, 714-564-6085

Adams State College, Alamosa, CO $342,310

Adams State College will receive a Hispanic-serving Institutions Assisting Communities Program grant of $342,310 to create a Virtual Business Incubator for the San Luis Valley in Southern Colorado. A fundamental cornerstone to economic development is fostering a business environment that can sustain a wide variety of businesses. The San Luis Valley does not have many of the business support services that larger metropolitan areas typically have. Thus, services to start and maintain viable small businesses are lacking. This grant would fill this gap.

Under the grant, the College will work with its community partners to strengthen the local business support network and increase every member's capacity. Activities will include: expanding the microenterprise loan program, organizing a volunteer network of experienced business mentors, creating a web site and an Intra Web Site for the Incubator, expanding the economical statistics library, and conducting workshops for network members.

Contact: Mary Hoffman, 719-587-7372

Barry University, Miami, FL $399,999

Barry University will receive a Hispanic-serving Institutions Assisting Communities Program (HSIAC) grant of $399,999 to construct a youth center in North Miami Beach. The project will be a partnership between the University, the City of Miami Beach, the Miami Beach Housing Authority, and neighborhood service providers and organizations. The grant will also enable the partners to develop and offer social, cultural, and recreational programs to neighborhood youth.

The population of the neighborhood is predominantly Hispanic and almost one-quarter of the families live below the poverty level. Demographic changes have resulted in an increasingly poor, young Hispanic population. The proposed project would address many of the social, educational, and pre-employment needs of this population by offering a wide range of social services and programs.

Most of the funding for the Youth Center has already been committed through a general municipal bond. In addition to funding some of the services, the grant will provide gap financing for the construction phase of the project.

Contact: Dr. Jacqueline B. Mondros, 305-899-3908

Florida International University, Miami, FL $400,000

Florida International University will receive a Hispanic-serving Institutions Assisting Communities Program grant of $400,000 to turn a vacant lot in the City of Opa-Locka into a gymnasium for the entire community. The City's Department of Public Works has funded the concept and design studies for the structure. Part of the work will be to remove the low-level contaminants on the site.

The facility will be located on land adjacent to a city park, close to several multifamily housing developments and an elementary school, making it extremely convenient for local area youth. When completed, the gymnasium will have a basketball court, weight rooms, and community meeting space.

In addition to the grant funds, $400,000 in matching funds are being provided by the City.

Contact: Dr. M.A. Ebadian, 305-348-3585

Northern Essex Community College, Lawrence, MA $400,000

Northern Essex Community College will receive a Hispanic-serving Institutions Assisting Communities Program grant of $400,000 to create a Business Assistance Center in the City of Lawrence. The City has a large immigrant, poor and under-educated population, at least 60% of which is Hispanic. A priority of the City is to create minority businesses and provide skill training to improve economic opportunities both for minorities and for Lawrence. The Center will help address this priority by:

     Providing information, technical assistance, education, and
     training to Hispanic business owners and entrepreneurs;

Assisting Hispanic microenterprises to understand and comply with the requisites of establishing and maintaining a business in the City; and

Encouraging minority business entrepreneurs to expand their businesses beyond their immediate Hispanic market into the larger economic mainstream.

In addition, the grant will provide all Hispanic residents, regardless of their English language ability, with the opportunity to participate in City activities, receiving and sharing information to help them participate in the City's economic and social activities.

Contact: Katharine K. Rodger, 978-738-7401

Passaic County Community College, Paterson, NJ $400,000

Passaic Community College will receive a Hispanic-serving Institutions Assisting Communities Program grant for $400,000 to create a Community Technology Center in Paterson, New Jersey. The grant will be used to renovate a building that will serve as the Center.

Paterson is a "Labor Surplus Area," with an unemployment rate of 20 percent above the national average. The project will focus on creating jobs through small business expansion. Using the Center: Businesses will be able to explore the use of technology applications; Service providers will gain access to a fully-equipped computer training laboratory that they can use for job training; and Residents will acquire technology and job skills training while gaining access to jobs with local businesses.

Operation of the Center will be funded by the College's community partners including the City of Paterson, the Hispanic Multipurpose Center, Eva's Village, the Greater Paterson Opportunities Industrialization Center, and the Paterson Small Business Development Center.

Contact: Mr. Todd Sorber, 973-684-5656

New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM $370,451

New Mexico State University will receive a Hispanic-serving Institutions Assisting Communities Program grant of $370,451 to establish a comprehensive culinary arts program and renovate the space in which the program will be housed. This space, in the old Court Junior High School, which is now a youth center, will house a full-scale accredited culinary arts teaching laboratory including hot and cold food preparation classrooms, a bakery, a lecture classroom, and a staging kitchen.

The target population will be the City's welfare-to-work population, who will be provided with job training that will result in jobs paying livable wages. When completed, it will be a one-of-a-kind facility and partnership in the area and will further strengthen the partnership between the Las Cruces Public Schools, the Dona Ana Branch Community College, and the University.

Contact: Dr. Keith H. Mandabach, 505-646-5995

Western New Mexico University, Silver City, NM $334,878

Western New Mexico State University will receive a Hispanic-serving Institutions Assisting Communities Program grant of $334,878 to construct and start a Child Care Center in Truth or Consequences, NM. The project is a partnership between the University, the City of Truth or Consequences, and two experienced child care organizations.

Currently, there is a severe shortage of child care facilities in the area and all the existing ones have long waiting lists. Increased child care capacity will support parents entering the work force and or job training programs.

In addition to providing child care, the facility will enable people to be trained in the child care profession through the University's Early Care, Education, and Family Support programs.

Contact: Donna Rees, 505-538-6130

Bronx Community College, Bronx, NY $400,000

Bronx Community College will receive a Hispanic-serving Institutions Assisting Communities Program grant of $400,000 to address a wide variety of needs identified by block associations in the Washington Heights neighborhood of North Manhattan. The College will be working with its community partner, the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC), a designated Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) and the designated lead employment service for the North Manhattan segment of the Northern Manhattan/Bronx Empowerment Zone.

The highest priority needs identified by the block associations were expansion of child care resources in the area, job skills training with enhanced English language and remedial supports, and economic development activity to increase the stability of the neighborhoods. To respond to these needs, NMIC will identify people for its occupational, entrepreneurial and remedial training services. Both NMIC and Bronx Community College will provide the instruction.

Contact: Carin Savage, 718-289-5184

University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus, San Juan, PR $399,557

The University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus will receive a Hispanic-serving Institutions Assisting Communities Program grant of $399,557 to acquire and rehabilitate a building that will serve as a Community-Building Information Technology Center for the entire Rio Piedras community. The area to be served by this facility has approximately 9,000 primarily very low-, low-, and moderate-income residents.

The Center will provide five kinds of services: Access to University library resources, especially information technology resources; Information on safe housing options and resources for training and job opportunities; Technical assistance to business owners and potential owners through job readiness and microloan programs; Training for small businesses on improvement and expansion; and Architectural and design services for low-income housing and business development.

While the grant will cover acquisition and rehabilitation costs, most of the services the Center will offer will be provided through matching funds from the University's local government partners as part of their financial commitment to the Center and the people of Rio Piedras.

Contacts: Consuelo Figueras or Ada Myrian Felicie', 787-767-0720

St. Philip's College, San Antonio, TX $397,867

St. Philip's College will receive a Hispanic-serving Institutions Assisting Communities Program grant of $397,867 to create a Community Neighbo rhood Improvement Academy, as a vehicle for promoting economic development in San Antonio's Empowerment Zone (EZ). Over half of the residents in the Zone are living below the poverty level, with 60 percent of the Zone residents either unemployed or not participating in the labor market.

The project calls for EZ residents to learn home repair and job skills. Specifically, the Academy will offer residents self-help training programs in carpentry and electrical and plumbing skills. It will also house a tool library so that residents can borrow tools for housing repairs and renovations. In addition, the academy will offer homeownership workshops on home financing and improvements and neighborhood improvement workshops on community clean up programs, neighborhood watch clubs, and graffiti removal programs.

Contact: Dr. Federico Zaragoza or Juan Armendariz, 210-921-4615

University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX $398,900

The University of Texas-Pan American will receive a Hispanic-serving Institutions Assisting Communities Program grant of $398,900 to create the Rio Grande Valley One Stop Capital Shop. The Shop will help create and expand businesses and provide parents the jobs they need to build safe homes and healthy communities.

The target area is part of four counties located on the United States-Mexico border that comprise the Rio Grande Valley's Empowerment Zone. The communities to be assisted are Edcouch, La Villa, Port Isabel, and Rio Grande City. Sixty percent of the residents of these communities meet the Federal poverty levels, as compared to a national level of 12 percent.

The grant will fund a comprehensive array of outreach, training and technical assistance services in coordination with other local public, private, and nonprofit organizations. Workshops will be offered on a wide variety of business issues, such as starting a business and preparing a business plan. Technical assistance will be provided on a one-on-one basis to business clients.

The University has marshaled over $1.2 million dollars for the project.

Contact: Roland S. Arriola, 956-381-3361