HUD's new mission

February 11, 1999|By Harold D. Young

A HOMELESS man recently walked into our Department of Housing and Urban Development offices on Howard Street, where he was interviewed by a community-builder fellow.

During their conversation, the HUD fellow learned that the young man would soon lose his job and needed a place to live.

The fellow, who was trained as a nurse, suspected the man had a medical problem because he was sweating profusely and experiencing some lightheadedness. He told her that he suffered from high blood pressure.

The HUD fellow not only helped this man locate housing, but she also referred him to a Johns Hopkins Hospital program for hypertensive young black males. Weeks later, the HUD fellow continues to follow the young man's progress.

This one woman's efforts shows HUD's community-building mission -- to find solutions to all kinds of problems, not just housing-related ones.

With this in mind, a group of nine Baltimore HUD employees, known as community builders, is responsible for building partnerships within the community to improve outreach efforts.

Team goals

The goals of the community-builder team are to help HUD reduce homelessness, transform public housing, increase homeownership, fight for fair housing and empower people through economic development.

Here are some examples of our work:

Community builders are developing a resource directory for churches that are interested in starting nonprofit groups to help poor people.

A team of community builders is consulting with Annapolis city administrators on the redevelopment of Clay Street.

HUD fellows are looking for ways to increase efficiency in delivering services to the homeless in Baltimore.

A HUD fellow is helping residents in West Baltimore become involved in redevelopment efforts.

Residents of HUD-insured multifamily properties may receive computer training to help prepare them for jobs.

HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo has promised that community builders nationwide will "bring an outsider's perspective and a wealth of experience" to the problems facing urban America.

In Maryland, we are realizing this goal by working with communities needing help to become cleaner, safer and more stable places to live, work and play.

Harold D. Young is the senior Maryland HUD official and the senior community builder.

Pub Date: 2/11/99

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