Mayor Paul Helmke of Ft. Wayne, IN, President, United States Conference of Mayors: "The State of the Cities report shows that the federal government realizes the importance of our cities and the urban agenda. Lasting partnerships have been forged this year between the federal government and local communities."
Mayor Gordon D. Bush of East St. Louis, IL, President, National Conference of Black Mayors:
"We applaud the Clinton Administration for putting forth a bold agenda to address these problems. We need a Community Empowerment Fund to help stimulate jobs and economic growth in urban areas. We need more affordable housing to help alleviate the housing crisis; and we need better schools so that all children will get the education they deserve."
Mayor Sharpe James of Newark: "The State of the Cities report substantiates the progress taking place in our Cities. Over the last decade, the City of Newark has experienced marked revitalization in the neighborhoods and downtown. This progress is due, in part to programs provided through HUD. It is these same funds that have contributed to the Newark’s historic high homeownership rate. The report clearly states, however, that there is more work that must be done to complete the revival. The opportunity gap in jobs, education and housing must be bridged. The urban neighborhood must have these elements to maintain and attract a viable community."
The National Urban League: "The 1998 State of Cities Report is an optimistic glimpse at the economic rebirth of our country's urban centers. However, that optimism is tempered by the delineation of the myriad social and economic obstacles preventing that rebirth from affecting every city and every one of us who depends on a thriving urban center. Elected and appointed officials, business leaders, concerned citizens and others must be applauded for their efforts to rebound and strengthen their communities. Their efforts must continue and they must be supported if the ugly stains of poverty, shrinking populations, and middle-class flight are ever to be removed from the canvas of America's cities."
Robert B. Shapiro, Chairman and CEO, Monsanto Company: "As a founding member of the Welfare to Work Partnerships, I praise the President’s State of the Cities report for its thorough and timely analysis of the need to ensure that welfare recipients obtain good-paying jobs. At a time of unprecedented economic progress, embracing policies that help families climb the economic ladder of success is not just good government. It’s good business."
John F. Smith, Jr., Chairman, President and CEO, General Motors Corporation: "President Clinton and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development should be commended for again providing a constructive overview of our American cities. The report makes it clear that the strength and vitality of our cities are critically important to jobs, education, culture, and many other key elements of our national life."
Raymond W. Smith, Chairman, Bell Atlantic Corporation: "The efforts of President Clinton and HUD Secretary Cuomo over the past year and the promise of further progress on these important initiatives give us hope – hope that all of our children, especially those in urban America, will have access to the technologies of the future, and the skills and the education to take advantage of them in the job market."
Shanna L. Smith, Executive Director of the National Fair Housing Alliance: "The report specifies that housing discrimination remains a major barrier to home ownership and the subsequent health and vitality of our nation's urban neighborhoods. The Administration’s proposed budget…would provide for critical expansion and enhancement of fair housing enforcement across the United States. In order to achieve 'One America,' we must be certain that families who return to or remain in our cities are not discouraged by biased real estate agents, lenders or homeowners."
Elisa Maria Sanchez, President of MANA, national Latina organization: "We believe federal efforts to make housing more affordable and attainable for first-time buyers such as Latino families contribute to healthier and stronger communities. We are please that HUD is developing creative solutions for recalcitrant challenges that have been a barrier in the lives of Latinas. Through community partnerships like Empowerment Zones & Enterprise Communities, One America and the Community Empowerment Fund, Latinas who receive the outreach will be steps closer to homeownership."
Monica Hilton Sussman, President of the National Housing Conference: "This report highlights the gaps in jobs, education and housing that still remain even while most cities are showing significant improvements. Today, 5.3 million families pay more that half of their income for rent or live in substandard housing. The NHC strongly urges Congress to support the President's proposals to add 100,000 Section 8 rental vouchers and expand the Low Income Housing Tax Credit."
Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation: "I commend President Clinton and Secretary Cuomo for their leadership in proposing and implementing a new urban agenda for America’s cities. The problems of urban America not only corrode the historic legacy of our nation’s great cities, but also undermine the quality of life of suburban areas as well. The experiences of cities around the country demonstrate that historic preservation is invariably a key component of successful urban revitalization. With targeted, strategic assistance from the federal government, such as expansion of the Low-Income Tax Credit, increasing the FHA loan limit, and the creation of a tax credit for the rehabilitation of owner-occupied historic properties, we can restore our great cities to the glory they and we so richly deserve."
David Mercer, National Executive Director of the YMCA of the USA: "The State of the Cities report casts a much-needed spotlight on the plight of America's urban centers. The report outlines the daunting yet not insurmountable threats facing our cities. Poverty, shrinking populations and middle-class flight put our cities in jeopardy."
Bart Harvey, Chairman and CEO of the Enterprise Foundation: The prescription for poverty is outlined in 'State of the Cities 1998.' Gaps in jobs, education and housing are more concentrated and wider than ever. We must build upon the successes identified in the report and one of the strongest economies in our nation's history so that the poorest among us share in our country's wealth. This tight job market and strong economy offer the best hope in years to move people from Welfare to entry-level jobs.
Helen Dunlap, President, National Low Income Housing Coalition: "The story is the same, but it is time for us to pay attention to it. We have learned that second-hand smoke causes cancer, and we know that poverty costs those of us taxpayers who aren’t poor as well as those who are – in education costs, health care costs, housing costs, and others. What remains is what to do about it. President Clinton and Secretary Cuomo’s proposals will establish the foundation of affordable housing and workforce development that our cities need to bridge the opportunity gaps low income people face, and make cities pleasant places to live for everyone. It’s time to take advantage of the economic boom and allow everyone to share in it."
Nan Roman, Vice President of The National Alliance to End Homelessness: "We applaud the Administration for highlighting the strengths and vitality of cities, but also for refusing to forget those who have not yet benefited from the new prosperity. HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo has consistently looked for ways to make sure that the boom economy did not leave anyone behind."
Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, General Secretary, National Council of Churches: "The State of the Cities confirms the experience of hundreds of city congregations. There are reasons to rejoice, but there are also areas of need that urgently insist on immediate attention. We believe concern for the quality of city life is required to give practical expression to the God-given worth and dignity of every human being."
Jaydee R. Hanson, Assistant General Secretary, United Methodist General Board of Church and Society: "Jobs, quality education, affordable housing and racial discrimination are issues that persist in urban America. This report highlights the serious conditions related to these issues. While the report states clearly that the cities today are healthier – stronger fiscally with more jobs – it does not gloss over the significant problems that still remain. The report also challenges all levels of government, businesses and religious and community-based groups to work together to improve urban life. The United Methodist Church believes that government policies can make a difference. This report strengthens our resolve to transform urban communities."
Thomas W. Dortch Jr., National President 100 Black Men of America, Inc.: "Once again, we see first hand evidence of the continued decline facing too many of our cities. While there are some positive signs of revitalization and job growth in some cities, too many cities are still stuck in the spiral cycle of poverty, shrinking populations and middle-class flight. We support the Clinton Administration's proposals to stimulate jobs as well as providing more housing in our cities. In particular, we think the President's idea of establishing a Community Empowerment Fund holds great promise in providing much needed jobs in our cities."
The National Neighborhood Coalition: "This important report highlights some promising trends from the cities, but also identifies the serious problems and challenges that remain. The good news is that the solutions to these challenges are within our reach. The urban agenda that the President and Secretary Cuomo outline in this report is essential to the well being of America’s inner city neighborhood – too many are still home to deep concentrations of poverty, lack of economic opportunity, poor schools and substandard housing. By investing in the future of the nation’s disadvantaged inner-city neighborhoods, we can build even stronger cities and substantially improve the quality of life in urban America."
JoAnn Kane, Executive Director of McAuley Institute: Our cities are prospering, yet the lack of housing, education and jobs prevents low-income women in urban centers from pulling themselves out of poverty. Since 1995, there has been no increase in housing production for working poor families. HUD's report, State of the Cities, 1998 highlights the need for the 100,000 new, incremental vouchers requested by the President to help our cities' low-income families, especially those headed by women, reach self-sufficiency.
Mary E. Ivey, President, National Association of Minority Political Families, USA: "Both President Clinton and Secretary Cuomo are on the right track in asking for more housing vouchers which will help families leave welfare and enter the workplace. We must provide every citizen an opportunity to become self-sufficient. The Administration's call for initiatives such as housing vouchers will ensure the best quality of life for inner city residents. We applaud them and are proud to support their effort."
International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO: "The President’s agenda has strengthened and will continue to strengthen cities across our nation. Communities have experienced an unprecedented and uninterrupted decline in crime for six successive years, a decline in poverty and unemployment, and a rise in the creation of jobs and homeownership. The future of America’s cities never looked brighter. President Clinton has provided law enforcement the tools to protect our communities and fight crime; Secretary Cuomo has presented both policy and leadership to revitalize our cities. Jobs, education and housing continue to be the building blocks for our inner cities. President Clinton’s budget will allow these building blocks to be the cornerstone of our communities as we approach the Twenty-First Century."
Luke Ridenhour, President of LifeLynx Co., Baltimore, MD: "The 1998 State of the Cities Report clearly documents the unmet potential of America’s cities as a place of business. As an entrepreneur doing business in an Empowerment Zone, I can fully attest to the benefits of the Zone, not only to me as a businessman, but to my entire community. I fully support the President’s call to expand this successful program into more of our cities."
Muriel Watkins, President of MW Financial, Inc., Washington, DC: "In an era of economic recovery, HUD’s State of the Cities 1998 report provides a preview of an early revitalization in our nation’s cities. There is a window of opportunity to create new jobs, increase homeownership, and add new units of affordable housing. The improving ‘state of the cities’ should benefit urban areas, the surrounding suburbs and rural communities alike."
Alliances for Quality Education, Inc.: "This report documents all too well the ills facing our cities. More importantly, it offers a blueprint for a collaborative plan of action to create successful solutions. We support the Administration's proposals to help our cities. The economic climate is primed for continuing urban revitalization. We urge Congress to join with us in support of constructive measures that will empower everyone to live in healthier and safer cities."