New online database promotes Section 3 hiring and contracting opportunities for businesses and residents
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced that it is launching a Section 3 Business Registry pilot program in Washington, D.C. that will expand job opportunities for low-income people and public housing residents by maintaining a registry of businesses that currently hire them. Additionally, HUD will implement the pilot program in New Orleans, Detroit, Los Angeles and Miami, to give contracting agencies and low-income residents a single source of information to find eligible Section 3 businesses and job opportunities.
Section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 promotes employment, training, and contracting opportunities to low-income residents who live in communities where HUD funds are spent. As a result, Section 3 promotes self-sufficiency for low-income persons, fosters the creation of small businesses, and helps build strong local economies. Based on the data received so far, 2010 HUD investments led to 38,000 new jobs- of which 47% were Section 3 hires. Almost 4,000 Section 3 business concerns received over $475 million in contracts. These numbers will increase as reporting continues.
Under the pilot, HUD’s Section 3 Business Registry will offer a searchable online database that housing authorities, local government agencies, and contractors can use to identify firms that have self-certified their status as Section 3 businesses and that hire low-income individuals.
“This business registry will maximize the impact of HUD investments on jobs and contracting opportunities,” said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “It’s a win-win situation for D.C. residents who arelooking for training and job opportunities as well as for businesses that hire them.”
Since 2009, HUD has increased Section 3 reporting from 20% to 80% of eligible HUD recipients. HUD has supported recipients by providing technical assistance and training in Section 3 compliance and conducted a listening session of stakeholders from various sectors to hear ideas for improvement. Recent HUD funding enabled 12 local recipients (public housing authorities, states, counties, and cities) to hire full-time Section 3 coordinators.
In 2010, 331 new jobs were created HUD-funding recipients in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, 275 (83%) of which were provided to local low-income residents (i.e., Section 3 residents). Additionally, more than $55 million in HUD funding was used for construction projects throughout the Capital Region, approximately $8 million of these funds were awarded to local businesses that hire low-income residents.
Recently, the District of Columbia passed a historic Jobs Bill that will require 51% of new employment opportunities created with local funding to be provided to DC residents. This bill is closely related to Section 3, and HUD plans to work closely with the District government to ensure that the maximum amount of jobs and contracting opportunities are provided to local residents with the greatest economic needs.
The Section 3 Business Registry’s online database is also intended to make compliance easier for recipients. It will increase the visibility of Section 3 firms and afford them better access to contracting opportunities. In addition, Section 3 residents will be encouraged to use the Section 3 Business Registry to identify businesses that may have employment opportunities they can apply for.
The Section 3 business registry pilot program will run until the fall of 2012. For more information about or to search HUD’s new Section 3 Business Registry, go to www.hud.gov/Sec3biz.