HUD Secretary on Effort to Transform Rental Assistance

(Washington, DC) – Today U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services on The Preservation, Enhancement and Transformation of Rental Assistance Act (PETRA).The multi-year initiative proposed in President Obama’s FY2011 Budget seeks to preserve HUD-funded public and assisted housing, enhance housing choice for residents and streamline the department’s rental assistance programs.

“Today,” said Secretary Donovan, “we have a parallel housing system in which most families live in housing that is financed, developed and managed through mechanisms that can be integrated with the communities around them — while the two-and-a-half million poor families served by HUD’s oldest programs live in another. These families are not only required to fill out dozens of applications processed by scores of administrators simply to have a decent chance of receiving the assistance they need – even worse, they often find themselves trapped in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty because moving means giving up that assistance. That’s not right.”

“This legislation not only reflects our best thinking at HUD – but perhaps more importantly our bestlistening,” Donovan added, “incorporating the lessons we’ve learned from Congress and other stakeholders about what it takes to build strong neighborhoods and help families make the housing choices they need.By streamlining HUD’s rental assistance programs and by allowing them to link housing investments to surrounding neighborhoods, this legislation fulfills President Obama’s commitment to ensuring that all families can live in sustainable, vibrant communities of opportunity and choice.”

For the full text of Donovan’s testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, please click here.

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