Editor's Note, The following is a statement issued today by the National Black Chamber of Commerce in Washington:
Section 3 of the HUD Act (CFR 24 Part 135) is one of the most empowering pieces of inclusionary legislation that has ever been written. It states that 30% of all new jobs generated from HUD funding must go to people living in public housing or under the poverty level (Section 3 resident). Companies who hire Section 3 residents will be deemed Section 3 companies. 10% of all HUD funded contracts will be set aside for Section 3 businesses. What does this mean? In effect, 100,000 jobs and $3.9 billion dollars in contracts are to be created each and every year. Wow!
There is just one big problem. Although Section 3 went into effect in 1968 as an answer to the 1965 Watts Riot and was strengthened in 1992 after the Rodney King Riot it has yet to be fully enforced or complied with. We have been striving since 1998 to make enforcement and compliance a reality. The road has been tough. To visibly see corruption and racism right before your eyes and to witness elected officials condone it is indeed anti-American. This sickness must be considered a cancer and removed from our society. We figure one third of Black and Hispanic unemployment levels can be erased with proper compliance of Section 3.
Fortunately things are starting to look up. For the first time since we started, HUD has begun an earnest push towards compliance. Assistant Secretary John Trasvina has committed his strength and total efforts towards making the 5500+ HUD grantees to begin compliance. Reporting procedures were once ignored. Report compliance has now gone from 12% to 88% in the first year of Secretary Trasvina’s tenure. A big difference is being made. The transition from reporting (accountability) to actual practice (compliance) should begin happening. In fact, we are getting reports from around the nation that housing authorities, cities, and counties are starting to walk the walk on Section 3. We are honored to have Secretary Trasvina come and speak at our 18th Annual Convention, July 22 – 24, 2010 in Houston, TX. Come and learn of the progress being made.
There is another good thing happening. We have found a Model Section 3 Program. It is that of the Philadelphia Housing Authority managed by Carl Greene. Mr. Greene came to PHA at the request of former mayor, Ed Rendell (now Governor of Pennsylvania). Mayor Rendell wanted things corrected and Mr. Greene has certainly done that. Section 3 lives at the Philadelphia Housing Authority – the 4thlargest housing authority in the United States. Thus, if it can happen there it can happen anywhere. Section 3 companies have evolved and are flourishing thanks to Mr. Greene. Thousands of youth who grew up in poverty are now fully employed and prospering thanks to the commitment of Mr. Greene and Section 3 of the HUD Act. How does he do it? What does he have to share with us? Come to Houston for our 18th Annual Convention. He will be there to tell it all. Also, we will formally honor him for his excellent performance.
Yes, we want all HUD grantees to emulate the Philadelphia Housing Authority. We want all HUD grantees to positively respond to the edits of Secretary Trasvina. Things are going to get better. One day we might even turn around the stinky condition they have in Richmond, VA. Make your city look like the Philadelphia example and not the Richmond, VA example (more).
The National Black Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to economically empowering and sustaining African American communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activity within the United States and via interaction with the Black Diaspora.