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Cisneros pledges to make HUD work.

Former National League of Cities President Henry Cisneros was was confirmed as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by the Senate January 21st becoming the first Hispanic to hold that position.

In a presentation delivered to the United States Conference of Mayors January 19, Cisneros said he wants HUD to be a department of community investment. He said he will focus on three themes in his stewardship of HUD:

First, he said he wants to get a handle on the mismanagement within HUD, saying and "get it beyond the scandal and corruption that hits the newspapers". He wants to apply the themes of President Clinton's campaign "which is to reinvent government, decentralize and make it work".

Second, he wants to look at the traditional mission of HUD which is housing and that the money administered from the department is distributed. He also said he wants to work with the communities to identify their housing needs.

Third, using the phrase "urban vision" for talking purposes, Cisneros wants to cover the range of issues that will make cities and communities liveable. He wants to integrate the resources of the federal agencies, and have collaboration at the cabinet level to ensure that local concerns are adequately addressed.

He outlined a broad agenda that called the community development block grant (CDBG) program, "the classic stimulus .program" and said that if it is part of a stimulus package, he needs to receive assurances from mayors that the money can be spent quickly to create jobs and stimulate the economy.

He said that the enterprise zone concept will go beyond tax and incentives and will embody how various departments can bring resources to bear in physical places defined as enterprise zones.

He said that community development banks will be on his agenda with the South Shore Bank of Chicago as the model to be used by the Clinton administration. But Henry cautioned against viewing South Shore as the answer to community reinvestment. He said he doesn't believe that South Shore can be replicated exactly as it is in other cities in the country.

Finally, Cisneros said he wanted to do two things: meet with individual communities, given schedule allowances, to learn about what is working and what is not working at the local level.

Second, he wants to know where the community is going in the long run and how can HUD help. He wants to create a central place at HUD where, information can be collected that identifies where the focus should be as problems confront communities.
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Title Annotation:Henry Cisneros; Department of Housing and Urban Development
Author:Barreto, Julio
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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