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December 10, 1997: Community Empowerment

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Community Empowerment

There is nothing that can be done for any neighborhood that people will not do for themselves. But people who are willing to do for themselves deserve a hand up, they deserve a partner, they deserve a government committed to giving them the tools they need to succeed. That's what empowerment is.

President Clinton,
December 10, 1997


Today, President Clinton traveled to South Bronx's Charlotte Street. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Presidents Carter and Reagan visited Charlotte Street because it was a paragon of lost hope and opportunity. Commenting on the vacant lots and burned-out buildings, President Reagan said he had not ''seen anything that looked like this since London after the Blitz.'' Today, President Clinton praises the community redevelopment of Charlotte Street, pointing to this revitalized neighborhood as a model for other urban areas. With the Federal government as the spark, community leaders, business leaders, residents, and elected officials have joined together in this South Bronx neighborhood to renew hope and opportunity.


  • $96 Million in Housing Assistance for New York City. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing $96 million in HOME funds for housing assistance in New York City this -- an 8% increase over last year. The HOME program provides flexible funds to states and local governments so they can provide affordable housing to low-income people. Since 1993, funding for the HOME program has increased by 50 percent -- to $1.5 billion in FY98.
  • SBA's First New York City-based Certified Development Company. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is opening its first New York City-based Certified Development Company (CDC). CDC's provide small business loans and support economic development in low- and moderate-income communities, such as the South Bronx. SBA estimates that this CDC will bring about $50 million of needed capital to the Bronx over the next five years, helping to create jobs and increased opportunities.
  • 56 Percent Increase for CDFIs to Expand the Availability of Credit in Distressed Urban and Rural Areas. The President's FY99 budget will include a 56 percent increase in Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) funds, so that the network of community banks can expand even more in distressed urban and rural areas.
  • $250 Million in Corporate Investments for New York Equity Fund. The private sector is taking advantage of the permanent extension of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit in 1993, helping to build affordable housing for low-income Americans. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and the Enterprise Foundation -- leveraging these incentives -- have received $250 million in corporate commitments for their New York Equity Fund. This money will help to build 5,000 more affordable homes in New York over the next three years.


The President's announcements today add to his community empowerment achievements. They include: generating $2 billion of new private sector investments in communities with Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities; improving access to capital and financial services with the strengthening and simplifying of theCommunity Reinvestment Act and the creation of Community Development and Financial Institution Funds; helping cities and employers move people from Welfare to Work with new tax incentives and the $3 billion Welfare To Work Job Challenge Fund in the Balanced Budget; and cleaning up thousands of contaminated, abandoned sites with the Brownfields tax incentive.

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