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Recovery Act Changed Approach to Business, Laid Foundation for American Cities to Win the Future

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RISMEDIA, March 12, 2011—America’s cities are better prepared to be sustainable economic engines according to a new report just released by the Department of Housing & Urban Development. The report, titled The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Working for America’s Cities found that the Recovery Act has helped position American cities to out-educate, out-innovate, and out-build our competitors. The collaborative and innovative approaches initiated during the implementation of the Recovery Act have laid the foundation for American cities to win the future.

Deputy Secretary Ron Sims released the report with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-MO, Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez, D-NY, of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

“As this data shows, the Recovery Act is rebuilding our communities by putting people back to work today, laying the foundation for long-term economic growth,” said Deputy Secretary Sims. “But it’s also helping us win the future by changing the way government does business.”

The report found that the Recovery Act ushered in a new era in the way government approaches challenges, through partnerships between private enterprise and government agencies as well as more significant interagency collaboration. Initiatives made possible because of the historic investments of the Recovery Act have yielded lessons that will have long-term implications.

Key findings of the report include:
Sustainable Communities – Collaboration between the Department of Housing & Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) initiated new ways to give our cities a competitive advantage and solve multiple problems with a single investment. That led to the creation of a Sustainable Communities Initiative that encourages links between residential centers to commercial, educational and corporate hubs through well-designed transit. Regions that embrace similar planning and approaches will be better prepared to attract jobs and private investment.

Weatherization – HUD collaborated with DOE to coordinate the distribution of $5 billion in funds directed to weatherize homes and help American families reduce their energy costs. In the long-run through such investments, America will be less dependent on foreign oil and homeowners will have lower utility bills and more money to spend or save for retirement.

Partnerships – Nationally, the Recovery Act directly stimulated $153 billion in private co-investment through matching grants, tax credits, loan guarantees and direct loans. By the end of the Act’s implementation, it is further projected that about $100 billion in Recovery Act funding will be matched by $280 billion in additional funds outside the federal government. This leverage in turn spurs production in various sectors of our economy, from the contractor who installed the technology to the manufacturer who built it to the truck driver who delivered it, having a tremendous short-term impact beyond federal funds alone.

Homelessness Prevention - Innovative programs such as the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing (HPRP) are helping to change the way cities allocate resources and address problems. The impact of the Recovery Act in our cities will mean more efficient institutions that are making needed improvements to spur innovation and build foundations for winning the future. HPRP created a system that allowed individuals and families, facing life on the streets, to make specific payments that enabled them to cover their rent or move back into their homes. The report reveals that to date over 875,000 people—including 21,000 military veterans—were kept off the streets and in their homes because of this innovative program.

For more information, visit www.hud.gov.

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