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January 29, 2009

Vital Resources for NYC Public Housing Included in Economic Recovery Plan

Velázquez: Funds will Create Jobs and Improve
Quality of Life for Working Families

Washington, DC – Economic recovery legislation approved in the U.S. House of Representatives contains funding needed to help restore New York City’s public housing buildings.  The resources are included in the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” as part of $5 billion designated for the nation’s Public Housing Capital Fund.  It is estimated that every dollar spent on these projects will generate $2.12 of economic activity in the community.  Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) hailed the funding for New York City public housing, saying it will create an estimated 3,500 high-wage jobs for New Yorkers. 

“This is a win/win for New York City.  We can put New Yorkers to work at a time when jobs are hard to come by and – in doing so – restore our aging public housing buildings.  That’s the kind of stimulus our City needs to preserve affordable housing and maintain a thriving local economy,” said Velázquez, a member of the Financial Services Committee who serves as New York City’s most senior member of the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity.

New York City, with the largest public housing authority in the nation, will use the funds to improve the quality of life for families by increasing the safety and livability of public housing buildings.  Many of these facilities have fallen into disrepair as a result of severe cuts under the Bush Administration.  In fact, the Public Housing Capital Fund was slashed by 19% in the past eight years.  The resources in the House-passed bill will also spur job growth at a time when New York is facing spiraling unemployment.  New York City’s unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent in December 2008, the highest level since July 2004.  In December alone, the City lost 8,500 private-sector jobs. 

“With our economy in freefall, we need to take swift and bold action to create jobs and put our nation on track for recovery.  The public works investments in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be a powerful tool for creating jobs across the country and right here in New York City,” said Congresswoman Velázquez.  

In the short-term, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan is expected to create or save 3 to 4 million American jobs, with an estimated 90% of the jobs created in the private sector.  Among other priorities, projects funded by the bill will create clean and efficient energy sources, modernize roads and bridges, improve education resources, help workers and small businesses hurt by the economy, and address the nation’s housing crisis.  

Having passed the House, the Senate must now consider the economic recovery legislation.  A final package is widely expected to be sent to the President to be signed into law in February.