Civic News & Info
USDA Official Meets Iowa Business Leaders to Discuss Collaborative Ways to Win Back the Future of Rural America PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 13:51

CHARLES CITY, Iowa – July 26, 2011 – USDA Rural Utilities Service Administrator Jonathan Adelstein met with businesses leaders from north central Iowa today to discuss ways local communities and businesses can collaborate with state and federal agencies to help improve economic conditions and create jobs. The meeting today was part of a series of roundtables that are being held across the country this summer with senior Administration officials on behalf of the White House Business Council and White House Rural Council. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is the chair of the White House Rural Council.

"Today's roundtable was a tremendous opportunity for me to learn about the challenges local businesses owners are facing and what type of opportunities they see ahead," said Adelstein. "It was clear that creating new job opportunities is extremely important for rural Iowans. The federal government, through its various programs, is committed to helping improve economic opportunities in rural America."

In the last 10 years 66 of Iowa's 99 counties saw a population decline, with counties in north central Iowa facing some of the largest population losses of any area of the state. Floyd County, which includes Charles City, recorded a 3.5 percent population loss in the 2010 Census compared to 2000 figures. Of the eight counties surrounding Floyd County only one has managed to gain population since 2000.

White House Business Council members plan to host roundtables in at least 100 communities across the country by year-end. The purpose of these roundtables is to listen to local businesses and get feedback on how the Administration can best support their growth. It is also to make sure that local business leaders are taking advantage of the Administration resources and programs designed to help them create jobs and compete.

The meetings give an opportunity for government leaders to hear directly from business leaders around the country about their ideas on how to grow the economy. This exchange also is intended to educate business and community leaders about USDA programs and other the resources within the federal government to help them compete and expand.

In June, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first White House Rural Council, chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The White House Rural Council will work throughout government to create policies to promote economic prosperity and a high quality of life in our rural communities.

Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans and has provided broad support for rural communities. The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America's rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining and thriving economically.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $150 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

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HUD AND NEIGHBORWORKS® AMERICA EXTEND DEADLINE FOR EMERGENCY HOMEOWNERS’ LOAN PROGRAM PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by HUD Public Affairs   
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 13:20

WASHINGTON Today the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and NeighborWorks® America announced that the deadline for the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program has been extended to Wednesday, July 27, 2011, in order to give homeowners at risk of foreclosure in the participating 27 states and Puerto Rico more time to apply for the program.

The Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP) will assist homeowners who have experienced a reduction in income and are at risk of foreclosure due to involuntary unemployment or underemployment, due to economic conditions or a medical condition.

Eligible homeowners can qualify for an interest free loan, which pays a portion of their monthly mortgage for up to two years, or up to $50,000, whichever comes first.

Homeowners are encouraged to visit www.FindEHLP.org to find contact information for participating agencies, the Pre-Applicant Screening Worksheet and more information on the EHLP assistance and its eligibility requirements.  Homeowners may also call the toll free hotline -- 855-FIND-EHLP (346-3345) – for this information as well.

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Harkin Announces More Than $6 Million for Community Development and Housing in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Harkin Press Office   
Monday, 18 July 2011 10:40

WASHINGTON D.C.—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that $6,622,682 will go to housing development programs for five communities in Iowa. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) and HOME awards. These programs provide financing, development and improvement to public housing projects throughout the country. Harkin is a senior member of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds HUD.

“Grants that HUD provide are vital for the growth and prosperity of our communities in Iowa,” Harkin said. “For those who are feeling the effects of these tough economic times, this funding creates opportunity for assistance to those in need to acquire quality, affordable housing.”

Details of the Funding are below.

$445,371—Ames (CDBG)
$1,187,806—Cedar Rapids (CDBG)
$454,799—Cedar Rapids (HOME)
$1,575,490—Davenport (CDBG)
$627,435—Davenport (HOME)
$1,739,510—Sioux City (CDBG)
$84,173—Sioux City (ESG)
$484,857—Sioux City (HOME)
$213,241—West Des Moines (CDBG)

 
Governor Quinn: State Working with Communities Following Storm to Ensure Public Safety PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by Laurel White   
Wednesday, 13 July 2011 14:40

State Prepared to Assist Communities in Recovery From Major Power Outage

CHICAGO – July 12, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today said state emergency management officials are coordinating with communities affected by Monday’s violent wind storm to ensure they have the resources needed for public safety.

“Yesterday’s storm left hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses without electricity,” said Governor Quinn. “Power crews are working around the clock to restore electricity, and we thank them for their diligent efforts. In the meantime, the state is prepared to step in and quickly provide any assistance communities need to ensure the safety of their residents.”

Gov. Quinn said staff from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) have been working closely with emergency management agencies in the affected areas since shortly after the storm to determine if state assistance is needed to protect public health and safety. That assistance includes heavy trucks, equipment and correctional inmates to assist with debris removal, generators, portable lights, law enforcement support and more.

In addition, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) is continuing to coordinate with ComEd to put a high priority on restoring power to critical facilities, such as nursing homes.

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HUD AWARDS $5.1 MILLION TO IMPROVE, PRESERVE NATION’S PUBLIC HOUSING STOCK IN IOWA PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Civic News & Info
Written by HUD Public Affairs   
Tuesday, 12 July 2011 14:58

Annual funding to housing authorities a down payment toward addressing

$25.6B backlog in large-scale repair, renovation costs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today awarded $5,118,535 to public housing authorities in Iowa.  The funds will allow these agencies to make major large-scale improvements to their public housing units.  View a full list of public housing authorities receiving funding.

HUD’s Capital Fund Program provides annual funding to all public housing authorities to build, repair, renovate and/or modernize the public housing in their communities. This funding can be used to make large-scale improvements such as new roofs and to make energy-efficient upgrades to replace old plumbing and electrical systems.

“While this funding will certainly help housing authorities address long-standing capital improvements, it only scratches the surface in addressing the deep backlog we’re seeing across the country,” said Donovan.  “Housing Authorities need nearly $26 billion to keep these homes safe and decent for families, but given our budget realities, we must find other, innovative ways to confront the decline of our public housing stock.  That’s why we introduced our new Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) as part of our comprehensive strategy to keep these homes on firm financial footing.”

Sandra B. Henriquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, added, “Unless we transform the way we fund our public housing authorities, local managers will be increasingly forced to choose between repairing roofs, replacing plumbing, or worst of all, demolishing or selling their properties.  We simply can’t afford to let that happen.”

Earlier this month, HUD released Capital Needs in the Public Housing Program, a study that updated the national estimate of capital needs in the public housing stock in the U.S.  The study found the nation’s 1.2 million public housing units are facing an estimated $25.6 billion in much-needed large scale repairs.  Unlike routine maintenance, capital needs are the large-scale improvements required to make the housing decent and economically sustainable, such as replacing roofs or updating plumbing and electrical systems to increase energy efficiency.  This study updates a 1998 analysis and includes costs to address overdue repairs, accessibility improvements for disabled residents, lead abatement, and water and energy conservation that would make the homes more cost effective and energy efficient.

Over the last 75 years, the Federal Government has invested billions in the development and maintenance of public and multifamily housing – including providing critical support through HUD’s Capital Fund. Still, the nation continues to lose thousands of public housing units annually, primarily due to disrepair.  To protect the considerable Federal investment and respond to the growing demand for affordable rental housing, the Obama Administration has proposed a comprehensive strategy to preserve this inventory. HUD’s Transforming Rental Assistance Initiative will allow housing authorities to leverage public and private financing to address capital needs and make public housing units affordable for the long term.

In FY 2012, HUD is requesting $200 million for a Transforming Rental Assistance demonstration to rehabilitate federally subsidized affordable housing, including public and multifamily housing units.  The Rental Assistance Demonstration would allow owners to continue to make standard life-cycle improvements to this inventory, modernize or replace obsolete units, and stem the loss of stock from private sector partners choosing to opt-out of affordable housing programs. The funds used to bring 255,000 properties into a reliable, long term, project-based rental assistance contract will enable public housing authorities to raise more than $6.1 billion in private financing to reduce the large backlog of capital repair needs and in the process, support significant job creation in communities across the country.

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