The Washington Post analyzed major construction and renovation projects currently funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a total of 5,100 development deals worth $3.2 billion. The Post found that nearly 700 projects awarded $400 million appear to be stalled or abandoned. An additional 600 projects have not drawn any of the money allocated, tying up $250 million.
In 2005, Prince George's County delivered $350,000 in federal funds to the nonprofit Kairos Development Corp, which proposed to build 56 condominiums on this empty lot. But Kairos did not own the land or have permission to build on it. The owners of the property ultimately decided not to sell to Kairos. Six years later, the lot is still empty and the affordable-housing deal is dead. A Kairos official said the project became "unfeasible due to significant change in selling prices." The county wrote off the loan.
Housing officials delivered $270,000 to build houses on this lot and others. A nonprofit developer did some planning and environmental work, but eventually went under. Nearly a decade later, the project is incomplete. "Everything takes so damn long," said East Orange Mayor Robert Bowser. "There are so many complications."
Since 2001, the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency of Nashville invested $1.7 million in this delayed project, meant to provide about 40 homes for low-income families. Federal money was spent to buy land and put in roads and utilities, but there is no money to start construction. "We essentially kind of moth-balled it for the moment," said Joe Cain, director of development. "We are holding it."
Since 2006, housing officials in Anaheim invested a total of $5.5 million in federal funding to buy and build housing on this lot. But the developer doesn't have the money to move forward. Housing officials say they are hoping the developer can quickly secure funding to start construction.
A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers is calling on Congress to look into the nation’s housing-construction program for the poor, citing years-long delays and other breakdowns that have thwarted the production of hundreds of affordable-housing projects.
Senate Banking Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Sen. Richard C. Shelby (Ala.), the panel’s ranking Republican, said Monday that they will seek to investigate the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOME program, which delivers $2 billion a year to local housing agencies to build and renovate homes around the country.
Public housing makes me feel...
"Do you live in public housing? Work with HUD? Inspect HUD buildings? Help our reporters tell the next story."Your Take
Explore how HUD spent, misspent or never spent $3.2 billion on housing construction across America.
.Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.), the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, also called for an investigation, sending a letter on Tuesday to committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
“It’s quite disturbing,” Cummings said. “I expect every dime to be spent effectively and efficiently. The American people are not getting what they bargained for. This is one that hits home — literally.”
Three other lawmakers — Reps. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), chairman of the Financial Services Committee; Randy Neugebauer (R-Tex.), chairman of the subcommittee on oversight and investigations; and Judy Biggert (R-Ill.), chairman of the Ssbcommittee on housing and insurance — sent a letter to HUD on Tuesday demanding detailed information about delayed projects and the agency’s oversight.
A year-long Washington Post investigation , published this week, found that nearly 700 construction projects awarded $400 million have been idling on HUD’s books — some for a decade or longer — leaving a blighted trail of empty lots and abandoned buildings in neighborhoods nationwide. HUD cuts checks but does not track the pace of construction and often fails to spot delayed or defunct projects, The Post found.
“We are deeply concerned by these reports, particularly at a time when so many Americans are in need of affordable housing,” Johnson and Shelby said in a joint statement.
HUD officials defended the HOME program this week, noting that the 700 projects cited by The Post represent 2.5 percent of 28,000 active developments. Officials added that some of the projects are delayed because “we’re in the middle of a housing crisis in this country.”
The Post did not attempt to track all 28,000 open projects, instead analyzing 5,100 deals worth $50,000 or more. Hundreds were started years before the housing crisis. In addition to the 700 projects, The Post identified 600 development deals that have never drawn any money even though it has been available for a year or more, tying up $250 million. In January, HUD started canceling these projects.
Where does that leave Minoroties? Where does that leave the poor? Where does that leave the lower middle class? Think About It... They can blow all of this money but what if they gave every American citizen 1,000,000 Million dollars that would equal up to about 325,000,000 dollars according to the recent census report,since their in the business of throwing away money. Give it to the ones your supposed to be helping and let them have the option of throwing it away instead of HUD playing games with hundreds of millions of dollars that can be used to affect people's lives with affordable and decent housing. Think About It.....(THACHILLONE)