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Edwards weighs in on loss of HUD dollars in Prince George's

Days after news broke that Prince George's County would be losing more than $2 million in federal housing funds for failing to spend it within five years, elected officials are still weighing in with reactions.

In a statement recently posted on her Web site, U.S. Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D) said she was "very concerned," and urged county officials to spend remaining funds before they expire.

"At a time when Prince George's County needs all available assistance in dealing with the housing crisis, I am very concerned by the decision of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development..." Edwards wrote. "Prince George's County is second in foreclosure rates in Maryland and is in desperate need of these funds to develop affordable housing."

Edwards' 4th Congressional District includes a large part of Prince George's.

The lost funds came from the federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program, known as HOME, which gives money to hundreds of jurisdictions each year to fund affordable housing projects. County officials had until Aug. 31 to spend about $2.1 million, and asked for an "exception" to the deadline, which was denied by HUD.

HUD officials said it was the largest amount ever to be reclaimed for missing a deadline in the history of the program, which dates back to 1992.

Asked about the matter Thursday night, County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) said the crippled housing market was an obstacle to funding projects.

"You try to allocate it over the years so that, you know, you assume that there is going to be a certain amount of building each year, and the last three years didn't materialize. ... For whatever reason, HUD decided they didn't want to give us a month or two waiver. ...I don't think it affected the number of affordable or senior housing that we were going to build, or could build... The economy is not producing."

it's worth noting, however, that the County was granted the funds in fiscal 2004, well before the economic downturn and housing collapse.

Meanwhile, HUD spokesman Brian Sullivan confirmed Friday that the $2.1 million had officially been removed from the county's line of credit.

By Jonathan Mummolo  |  January 22, 2010; 11:37 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections , Jonathan Mummolo , Prince George's County  
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