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2007-11-07 11:25:00

HUD Creates Blueprint for Preserving Affordable Housing

Bethlehem, PA, is home to one of the loveliest Historic Districts in the United States.Historic preservationists and affordable housing advocates are often at odds when it comes to developing strategies to preserve older housing while providing affordable housing opportunities for working families. In fact, there is a prevailing myth that the cost of historic preservation actually prices many working families out of many urban neighborhoods.

Te U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has announced a blueprint that seeks to challenge this myth and employ historic preservation as a tool to not only preserve historic homes but keep them affordable in the process.

HUD and the ACHP held a symposium of national experts on affordable housing and historic preservation policies and unveiled a policy road map to potentially offer a promise of affordable housing in urban neighborhoods.

"Historic preservation and affordable housing are not two separate worlds," said HUD Deputy Secretary Roy A. Bernardi. "Historic preservation can be a powerful tool to fuel the preservation of affordable housing too."

In 2004, HUD published Preserving America, a how-to guide designed to help local communities utilize federal assistance to promote historic preservation by stimulating "heritage tourism," economic development and job growth. Panelists provided their comments on new guidelines from various viewpoints and perspectives. The speakers represented economic development, HUD community development grantees, state historic preservation offices, and the banking and development sectors.

The symposium kicked off a national dialogue that will include other federal agencies, state organizations, public interest groups, and the private sector as part of HUD's America's Affordable Communities Initiative (AACI). The Initiative presently works with over a hundred state and local governments to cut red tape and reduce regulatory barriers. AACI also features a Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse including local best practices.

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