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We often refer to decent, affordable housing as a platform for a better quality of life. One way that HUD is making the connection is by making smart housing investments and choices that lead to employment.
If you are not familiar with Section 3, it is one of the key connecting points between jobs and housing. Section 3 requires recipients of HUD funds (cities, housing authorities) to do everything possible to ensure that job opportunities generated by HUD funds go to low-income people and public housing residents. For the companies, there is an incentive to participate in the program because contracts go to the companies that can document hiring low-income and public housing residents.
Yesterday in Miami, HUD was joined by representatives from the White House in announcing that it is launching a Section 3 Business Registry pilot program. HUD is also implementing the pilot program in New Orleans, Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington, DC. Check out the Miami Herald’s story here. The announcement was made as the White House hosts the Hispanic Community Action Summit in Miami this week.
Recent figures show Hispanic unemployment rate at 11.4 percent, above the national average. Since 1968, Section 3 has promoted employment, training, and contracting opportunities to low-income residents who live in communities where HUD funds are spent. 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 more than $475 million in contracts.
And the good news is that the program is growing stronger when we need it most. Since 2009, HUD has increased Section 3 reporting from 20% to 80% of eligible HUD recipients, making businesses more accountable. HUD is currently supporting 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. And recent HUD funding enabled 12 local recipients (public housing authorities, states, counties, and cities) to hire full-time Section 3 coordinators.
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 .