JANUARY 15, 2014
In its costly effort to win the war on poverty, the Obama administration has dedicated $73.3 million in the last few weeks alone to promote “family self-sufficiency” among public housing residents in the U.S.
The taxpayer dollars are distributed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the scandal-plagued agency caught giving money to a corrupt community group banned by Congress from receiving government funds. The agency kicked off the New Year with a $16.3 million allocation to help public housing residents become more self-sufficient.
Just a few weeks earlier HUD doled out $57 million for the same cause. In both cases the money will be awarded to local groups nationwide that will help public housing residents gain access to education, job training and employment. The funding will pay to teach the welfare recipients how to gain critical employment/life skills to compete for decent jobs, according to HUD, therefore making them more self-sufficient. Local housing authorities across the U.S. will hire hundreds of program coordinators who will work directly with families and connect them to the “supportive services that meet their needs.”
Services include education, job training and placement, childcare, counseling, transportation and computer and financial literacy. The goal is to “reduce or eliminate” the need for welfare assistance from the government and make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency. Candidates have five years to get a job and get off the welfare rolls, according to HUD.
“This is a modest investment that can make a world of difference for families looking to find their path to self-sufficiency,” said Shaun Donovan, Obama’s HUD Secretary. “As America’s economy continues to recover, it’s critical that we work to make sure every American has the skills and resources they need to successfully compete for jobs in the 21st Century.” The hope is that perhaps some of the public housing residents can start their own business, a rags to riches story, if you will.
HUD is one of those bloated government agencies that pours enormous amounts of taxpayer dollars into questionable causes with little concern about how the money is spent. For instance, since 1995 the agency has awarded the fraud-infested Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) nearly $20 million in “housing counseling” grants despite the group’s documented history of corruption. Housing counseling aims to help minorities seeking a good home or struggling to keep one on the verge of foreclosure.
Famous for voter registration fraud and embezzlement (read all about it in a Judicial Watch Special Report) ACORN was deemed a criminal enterprise after a congressional probe found the group engages in systematic fraud by laundering federal money to pursue a partisan political agenda and manipulate the American electorate. That’s why Congress passed a law to stop the huge flow of taxpayer money that annually went to ACORN. HUD simply ignored the federal funding ban and kept pouring cash into ACORN’s coffers, a Judicial Watch investigation found.
In 2012 HUD actually wasted $70 million to help local communities spend their federal money more efficiently! The agency explained the absurd allocation by saying that the budget climate challenged state and local governments to do more with less and they needed help to accomplish this. The extra millions from HUD helped communities “ensure that scarce federal dollars are targeted to where they are needed most and can achieve the highest impact,” according to an agency assistant secretary named Mercedes Marquez.
HUD has also been rocked by a number of scandals—under both Democrat and Republican administrations—over the years involving its leadership. George W. Bush’s HUD secretary, Alphonso Jackson, was forced to resign in the midst of a federal investigation involving cronyism. Bill Clinton’s HUD secretary, Henry Cisneros, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about payments to a mistress. Ronald Reagan’s HUD secretary, Samuel Pierce, was embroiled in an influence-peddling scandal that saw 16 people, including some of his top aides at the agency, convicted.
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