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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

Miami to Implement Program Pilot to Expand Job Opportunities

MIAMI – Miami will become the second U.S. city to implement a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development pilot program to promote job opportunities for people with scarce resources.

The HUD assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, John Trasviña, told Efe on Thursday that the initiative includes creating a database of companies that hire people with low incomes and public housing residents.

“Eligible companies will be able to request contracts to participate in bids from Miami-Dade County, HUD and other government agencies, and people can examine the database to learn what job opportunities those firms are offering,” he said in a interview.

While the Section 3 Business Registry is directed toward minority-owned businesses, any firm who hires people required by HUD may participate.

“This business registry is one of the key points of connection between jobs and housing. It’s a situation where everybody wins, the companies and the residents in the community,” Trasviña emphasized.

Residents of Miami-Dade, whose population of nearly 2.5 million is more than 60 percent Hispanic, face challenges because of the difficulties that exist in the labor market and in the real estate sector, the official said.

“We acknowledge the challenges and this is a program that offers relief in these two areas. HUD is investing in these communities and we want to verify that low-income people and residents of low-income housing can also benefit from the jobs that will be created with that money,” he said.

HUD allocated $144 million for construction projects in Miami last year.

HUD investments on the national level generated 38,000 new jobs in 2010 and 47 percent of them were created via Section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act, which promotes employment, training and hiring opportunities for low-income residents who live in communities where HUD funds are used.

Almost 4,000 companies received more than $475 million in contracts and an increase in that amount is expected.

The pilot program was begun in New Orleans last week and, besides Miami, three other cities will benefit from the initiative: Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington.

“We’re seeing the unemployment rate, the investments that will be made through HUD, the interest there is for this in Florida and we’re taking note that it makes a lot of sense to be here (in Miami),” Trasviña said.

In Miami-Dade County the unemployment rate was 10.8 percent in October, down from 11.5 percent the month before, but still above the national average of 9 percent.

The announcement of the HUD initiative was made a day before this city is due to host the White House Hispanic Community Action Summit, where senior Obama administration officials, business owners and other community stakeholders will “discuss issues critical to the Hispanic community, Miami and the nation.” EFE

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