HUD to create jobs program

admin | 12/7/2011, 7:30 a.m.

Miami selected as pilot city

Business development efforts are sprouting up all over the nation from incentives for companies that hire veterans to tax breaks for having an earth-friendly company. And just last week here in Miami, the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has set its sights on a new program that they believe will create more jobs to stimulate local economies. "Miami, as well as other cities were chosen based on a certain criteria,"said John Trasvi, HUD's assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "Cities were selected based on their unemployment rates, the amount of HUD funding received [under Section 3 programs] and compliance with the Section 3 minimum numerical goal for contracting." HUD's Section 3 program requires that recipients of certain HUD financial assistance, to the greatest extent possible, provide job training, employment and contract opportunities for low- or very-low income residents in connection with projects and activities in their neighborhoods." Trasvi added that other community factors such as major HUD-funded construction projects planned played a part in the city selection process. HUD announced its pilot program in New Orleans a couple of weeks ago and will soon announce similar initiatives in Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington, DC.The business registry program is intended to allow companies to be placed into a searchable online databases of Section 3 businesses. The program will make businesses eligible to land contracting opportunities with local governments. HUD officials say the programs's impact on Miami will be substantial. "In 2010 HUD investments in Miami fueled the creation of 236 new jobs, of which 41 percent were Section 3 hires," Trasvi said. "In addition, to the $141,271,094 in contracts that were awardedin Miami, Section 3 businesses received $6,308,213 in contracts. Trasvi cautions against prematurely attempting to measure the success of the program. "According to U.S. Census data, a combined total of more than 570,000 small businesses are located within the five pilot areas," he said. "There is no way to estimate how many of these firms will meet the number of new jobs that they will create as a result of the business registry. However, these outcomes will be measured throughout the duration of the pilot program. We expect jobs for low-income residents to be another outcome of this pilot, as businesses that are not currently qualified as Section 3 can become Section 3 businesses by hiring a significant number of local, low-income residents."

By Randy Grice rgrice@miamitimesonline.com