The deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development toured a public housing project in Des Moines today, touting the impact of federal stimulus money invested in the renovation of 300 apartment units there.
Six-million dollars from the 2009 economic stimulus package is helping finance a $31 million upgrade of the Oakridge Neighborhood in Des Moines. Ron Sims, as deputy secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is in charge of managing the agency’s day-to-day operations.
“We were in a deep, deep, deep recession at a time when people were speculating whether or not we were ever going to get out of it. And when you look at the numbers of that…recession we had, it was actually worse numerically — if you look at stock market performance, capitol loss — than the Depression,” Sims said. “Do we want to get out of it faster? The answer is yes, but it is these kinds of projects that put people to work and rebuild communities.”
According to Sims, the Housing and Urban Development agency is making a “stronger investment” in housing than has ever been made before.
“And it’s really interesting because now the speculation is not on whether the U.S. economy is going to grow, the issue is if the European economy is going to grow as rapidly as ours,” Sims said. “That means that people took some real risks and those risks are paying off.”
Sims told a crowd of city and state officials and Oakridge Neighborhood leaders that he’s part of a “new” HUD that’s not about making excuses, but providing results. “I think what we see in the Recovery Act and what we see happening at Oakridge is the fundamental belief that the next generation’s life will be better than ours,” Sims said.
About 1000 people live in the Oakridge Neighborhood. Sims toured one of the recently-renovated apartments. President Obama visited an electric car business in Kansas City today, touting the stimulus package as among the steps he took to stop the economy’s “freefall”.
Listen to Sims’ remarks in Des Moines: RonSims