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U.S. Public Housing Gets High Grades

April 21, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Maligned through the years as crime-ridden and dirty, the nation’s public housing stock received high grades after the first round of unprecedented physical inspections, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

The inspection results, showing that 87 percent of the 750 housing authorities checked received good or excellent grades, indicate public housing is an untold success story, Cuomo said.

``The stereotype on public housing is that its a failure,″ Cuomo said. ``We’ve allowed that impression to be set and continue for decades, but that is not what public housing is about. The vast majority of the 3,400 public housing authorities across this nation are successful.″

At a ceremony honoring the highly rated housing authorities, Cuomo said the evaluations of physical and financial conditions at the 750 housing authorities found 23 percent operating at excellent levels, 64 at good levels and 13 percent in need of improvement.

HUD trained and dispatched inspectors to examine building exteriors, common areas, building systems and randomly selected apartment units in each development. The inspectors also checked that safety certificates for boilers, elevators, fire alarms and sprinkler systems were current.

HUD provides funding to 3,400 housing authorities nationwide. A HUD spokesman said the remaining inspections should be completed by October.

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