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HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan Responds to Washington Post HOME Article

Source: HUDdle, cross-posted from the Washington Post, June 10, 2011, by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, The HOME program I Know “The Post published a front-page story last month painting an ominous picture of local corruption fed by federal mismanagement on the part of officials who “largely looked the other way.” The multipart series “Million-dollar wasteland” on the HOME Investment Partnerships Program purported to uncover “a trail of failed developments in every corner of the country,” with millions of taxpayer dollars wasted on “troubled developers” and other bad actors. That’s a far cry from the program that I oversee as President Obama’s housing secretary and that I worked with as New York City’s housing commissioner. The HOME program I know helps communities build affordable homes and rehab existing ones for low-income families. The program provides down-payment assistance to help creditworthy families become homeowners and housing vouchers to poor families and those on the brink of homelessness. HOME produced more than a million affordable homes in the past two decades and leverages nearly $4 of private and other public investment for every dollar it invests. The program was a semifinalist for Harvard’s Innovations in American Government award in 2005. So, how did The Post arrive at such a different conclusion? Well, in part because its basic analysis of the program was so far off. Let’s start with the number of projects that The Post deemed “stalled.” Late last year, of the 28,000 HOME projects underway across the country, The Post focused on 5,100 brick-and-mortar projects receiving at least $50,000 in funding. It reported finding significant delays or abandonment in approximately 700. Although HUD provided data and information to The Post for more than a year, the paper has not shared with us the list of projects it generated. So after the articles ran, we conducted our own project-by-project review using The Post’s parameters. We determined that more than half of 797 projects that could have been flagged as “stalled” based on The Post’s criteria are finished. Of the remaining projects, 97 have been canceled and their funding moved to viable projects, while 154 are progressing toward completion. The final 85 properties are experiencing delays, but in the vast majority of cases there is a simple reason for this: the recession…” Full Story: HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan Responds to Washington Post HOME Article PDF of Story: HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan Responds to Washington Post HOME Article

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