HUD’s visit highlights strong partnership

Posted on: September 11th, 2014 by

U. S. SECRETARY of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro was made a member of “Team Gary” during his recent visit to Gary. Wearing an “I Love Gary” tee-shirt, Castro is pictured with Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson following a press conference held Wednesday, August 20 at the Genesis Plaza. Prior to the press conference Castro was given a tour of the city and visited the Sheraton Hotel demolition site. (Photo by Chris Gonzales)

A visit to the city of Gary by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro highlighted the strong partnership Gary has forged with the federal government in its effort to revitalize the city.

Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, Texas joined the Obama administration in July and Gary is one of the first cities he’s visited since assuming office.

“Just a few weeks ago I was the mayor of San Antonio. I’m only in my fourth week so I’m kind of new at this. I chose for my first visit to visit a community that HUD has a strong partnership with and that’s why I chose Gary, Indiana, because of the great work that you all are doing,” said Castro.

During his visit on Wednesday, August 20 Castro, accompanied by Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, toured the Sheraton Hotel demolition site and the South Shore Commons, a homeless veterans center. Both are HUD funded projects.

“It is here in Gary that HUD has a great partnership with other federal departments and the city through its Strong Cities, Strong Communities,” Castro said. “The president has set a goal to eliminate veteran homelessness by the end of 2015 and we are determined to meet that goal. Here in Gary and at the South Shore Commons you have a lot you should be proud of. Here in America’s local communities is where things get done.”

As a former mayor, Castro says he hopes his experience gives him a strong sense of the difference investments in cities like Gary can make. “I don’t have a theoretical behind the desk perspective, I have seen the great impact the SC2 funds and HOME and CBDG funds can have on a city.

“I see HUD as the department of opportunity where we work with local communities to make investments to create partnerships that help them to revitalize their downtown, to create jobs, to create places for people to live that they can afford,” Castro continued.

Castro praised Gary for showing a lot of leadership with a vision to revitalize its urban core. “I noticed that Gary is taking a page from some other cities, but also some other cities are looking at what’s happening in Gary in terms of those partnerships with the federal government and also the private sector. It’s important to think about what’s possible in communities like Gary, lots of times when we think of cities we think of the bigger cities, but the truth is that a lot of economic development, along with quality of life issues happens in communities like Gary,” Castro said.

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said she was excited when she learned of Castro’s appointment as HUD Secretary. “I knew that as mayor of San Antonio he understands what we as mayors go through everyday and that we would have a sympathetic ear in HUD who would be able to articulate to others in the cabinet and in Washington what our needs are,” said Freeman-Wilson.

The mayor said Castro’s visit allowed an opportunity to discuss the city’s future and HUD’s role in the effort.

“To be able to spend time and just talk about what our needs are. Driving through the city he saw the abandoned buildings and he understands that while we got $6 million going toward that effort now we probably have a 60 million dollar abandoned building issue. It also gives him a chance to see the positive things that are going on and the challenges we continue to have and how HUD might be able to fit into those challenges,” Freeman-Wilson concluded.

View Full Article Here