The City of Los Angeles Housing Department Hosts Kickoff Event for Bridges to Business Success Construction Project

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Initiative Puts Neighborhood Stabilization Program Funds to Use Creating Jobs and Rehabilitating Properties in Communities Hardest Hit by Foreclosure Crisis

Bridges to Business Success in an innovative approach to using HUD's Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding. It will not only provide opportunities for small businesses but also address the stabilization of neighborhoods hardest hit by foreclosures.

In an effort to revitalize neighborhoods and create jobs in Los Angeles, the City of Los Angeles is continuing to put its Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funds to work. City of Los Angeles Seventh District Council Member Richard Alarcon, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Regional Administrator for Region IX Ophelia Basgal (representing HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan), City of Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Matt Karatz, and Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) General Manager Doug Guthrie hosted today a groundbreaking ceremony to kickoff the first “Bridges to Business Success” construction project at 14651 Novice Street, a NSP- acquired foreclosed property in Panorama City.

“Bridges to Business Success is an innovative approach to utilizing HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding,” said HUD Regional Administrator Ophelia Basgal. “Not only is this program providing opportunities for small business development and job creation but it will also address the stabilization of neighborhoods hardest hit by foreclosures by rehabilitating vacant homes like this one here in Panorama City and those throughout the Los Angeles metro area.”

The Bridges to Business Success Program is a unique and creative public-private initiative providing small minority business owners with procurement training and contract opportunities, which create and retain jobs. This initiative aligns with President Barack Obama's "PROJECT REBUILD" by investing NSP funds to create jobs and rehabilitate NSP- acquired properties in Los Angeles.

“We are proud to support this innovative program and to provide minority-owned businesses with the knowledge and skills to expand their business, create jobs, and strengthen their communities,” said Rebecca Macieira-Kaufmann, President of Citibank California. “Through this unique public-private collaboration, Bridges to Business Success is already helping business owners and communities in Southern California.”

The City of Los Angeles was awarded approximately $143 million in NSP funds from HUD to address the negative impact of foreclosures, to stimulate the creation and retention of jobs, and to advance the stabilization of neighborhoods. In partnership with Restore Neighborhoods LA, Inc. (RNLA), to date, LAHD has acquired, rehabilitated or developed over 780 units of housing and created or retained over 1,100 fulltime and part-time jobs.

“We are excited to participate in the Bridges to Business Success Program and welcome the opportunity to further the City’s outreach to local minority business owners,” said Matt Karatz, City of LA Deputy Mayor for Economic and Business Policy. “This collaboration with our housing and economic development partners speaks to our commitment to revitalizing communities and creating jobs in Los Angeles.”

The City of LA is leveraging the NSP- acquired properties in the communities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis by working in partnership with Citi, the University of Southern California (USC), LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Office of Economic and Business Policy, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), and other community-based organizations to award construction and real estate related contracts to small minority business owners who receive training through the Bridges to Business Success curriculum.

“The foreclosure crisis doesn’t just hurt the families who lose their homes, it damages entire communities by adding blight to our neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Richard Alarcón. “This program not only reduces blight – it goes even further by creating jobs and supporting minority-owned small businesses in Los Angeles. I am very proud to continue my support of the Bridges to Business Success program.”

LAHD is also working with property preservation industry leader Field Asset Services (FAS) to ensure the rehabilitation projects are completed with the highest quality standards. As the construction manager for each project, FAS will oversee the demolition, redesign, materials choice, and actual construction of each and every home renovated as part of the Bridges to Business Success program.

“It’s so rewarding and refreshing to be part of such a great revitalization effort,” said Dale McPherson, President of Field Asset Services. “LAHD and its partners have created a one-stop shop initiative that will restore one of the hardest-hit communities in the Nation. Because these properties will become someone’s home in the future, FAS will ensure each renovation is well planned and completed on time using only the most cost-efficient and energy-efficient materials. We look forward to unveiling the finished homes in TIMEFRAME!”

For more information on the City of Los Angeles NEIGHBORHOOD STABILIZATION PROGRAM and home-buyer qualifications, visit http://lahd.lacity.org/nsp/.

About Citi

Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

About the Los Angeles Housing Department

The Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) is charged with the development of citywide housing policy and supporting safe and livable neighborhoods through the promotion, development and preservation of decent and affordable housing. LAHD is the principal housing agency of the City of Los Angeles. For more information about LAHD programs and services, visit LAHD.LACity.org.

About Field Asset Services (FAS)

Field Asset Services (FAS) is the premier property preservation, REO maintenance and repair services company in the United States, servicing more than $10.8 billion in residential assets on behalf of its clients. FAS works with 30 mortgage and asset management clients nationwide, servicing more than 130,000 active properties on a recurring basis. For more information about FAS, please visit http://www.FieldAssets.com.

About Restore Neighborhoods Los Angeles, Inc. (RNLA)

RNLA is a not-for-profit holding and development corporation created in January 2009 to purchase foreclosed or abandoned properties at a discount from lenders and loan servicers for resale to qualified owners. LAHD worked closely with Enterprise Community Partners to establish RNLA as a “community-based development organization.” Using federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), RNLA purchases, rehabilitates foreclosed or abandoned homes, and sells these properties at an affordable price to low- and moderate- income families.

About USC’s MBDA Business Center in Los Angeles

The MBDA Business Center in Los Angeles is funded by the United States Department of Commerce through the Minority Business Development Agency. The MBDA is the only federal agency created specifically to foster the full participation and entrepreneurial parity of minority business enterprises (MBEs) in our national economy. The MBDA Business Center program is a key component of the MBDA’s overall portfolio of minority business development services, focusing on securing large public and/or private contracts and financing transactions, stimulating job creation and facilitating entry to global markets. USC was awarded a new 5-year program effective April 1, 2011. Under the new program structure, USC partnered with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Economic and Business Policy to help businesses secure contracts and create jobs. This is a new private/public partnership to support minority-owned businesses. Both USC and the City of Los Angeles have vast experience operating successful MBDA funded centers in the past. USC has hosted a center at the university since 1996.

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