February 25, 2009 The Pump Handle 3Comment

A week after President Obama signed the stimulus bill into law, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has allocated $10 billion of its funding. The agency’s press release explains why the speed was possible:

The funding announced today is primarily formula-based, meaning that it is allocated using set program criteria that do not require grantees to apply for the funds, allowing them to be allocated very quickly.

Three-quarters of HUD’s stimulus money has already been allocated using this set program criteria; the remaining quarter will be competitively awarded for projects that promote green jobs and mitigate foreclosures’ destabilizing effects on communities.

We’re particularly happy to see $100 million allocated for Lead Hazard Reduction/Healthy Homes programs:

Nearly $100 million will be invested in HUD’s lead based paint and hazard reduction and remediation activities, including promoting local efforts to eliminate dangerous lead from lower income homes and stimulating private sector investment in lead hazard control.

HUD has a Recovery Website that provides more information on each of its program areas, and they’ve already posted a spreadsheet of grant recipients from the Lead Hazard Reduction/Healthy Homes programs. There must be a lot of delighted HUD grantees celebrating this news today.

From the descriptions on HUD’s website, it appears that most of these programs are engaged in identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards in homes. From what I know about lead-paint hazard reduction efforts here in DC, I imagine this means a lot of outreach workers who educate residents about reducing their children’s exposure to lead paint dust, and some workers involved in actual remediation of housing with lead-based paint (which landlords and homeowners often can’t afford to undertake on their own). These are good, worthwhile jobs that will be saved – and the end result will be fewer children suffering neurological damage from lead poisoning.

HUD deserves kudos for putting in place a process that will award the stimulus grant money so quickly. The organizations and agencies in line for HUD money will be able to avoid difficult decisions about firing employees while awaiting word on grant decisions, and they can get to work right away improving housing across the country.

If anyone has more information about specific programs that are receiving funding and the jobs that will be saved or created as a result, let us know in the comments.

3 thoughts on “HUD Moves Quickly on Stimulus Allocation

  1. Would be a good to have some of these funds go to OSHA to conduct lead inspections at these lead remediation jobsites. HUD could require these jobs notify their OSHA area office in advance that lead work will be done. For a time in the mid 1980s, OSHA used to conduct inspections at asbestos abatement sites which had to notify the EPA in advance. EPA would pass on the notices to OSHA.

  2. I think we really need to help people out, there are just too many in trouble to play the blame game. I love Dean Baker’s idea (heard him on a great podcast as talking about his part in the book Thinking Big.) to give homeowners facing foreclosure the option to rent their home at the market rate for a substantial period of time (10 years). This encourages banks to be serious in renegotiations, and I think it’s time we followed the president’s lead and demanded accountability from the banks.

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