Brownfield Grants Of $99 Million Will Help Restore Urban Areas
Twenty-three communities will begin the process of breathing new life into their local economies because of $25.3 million in grants announced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
In addition, HUD will also guarantee $98.8 million in loans committed by the communities to further help restore these areas. The announcement is anticipated to generate 5,000 jobs in 23 communities. The funding and the guaranteed-loan assistance announced today are provided through HUD’s Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) that assists local governments to redevelop abandoned, idle or underutilized facilities where redevelopment is complicated by environmental contamination.
By combining grants with a low-interest guaranteed-loan program, HUD helps communities to convert abandoned or underutilized sites into useful commercial and industrial developments.
“Brownfields” are often perceived as obstacles to development — in fact, without government assistance many remain unproductive eyesores in their communities. But this impression ignores a potentially powerful opportunity for economic development because many brownfield sites are strategically located in or around key areas and were, in many cases, the reasons why the city or town was developed in the first place.
HUD’s experience is that with some environmental cleanup, abandoned factories or other industrial sites can be converted into new centers of community renewal. Since 1998, HUD has made an investment of $124 million in BEDI grants and $548 million in companion Section 108-guaranteed-loans in 99 communities. These funds have leveraged another $3.2 billion in other public and private funds.
HUD is the nation’s housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS.