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.