HUD Disses Las Vegas in the Housing Stimulus Lottery

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While the flap of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s recent comments created a stir nationally, it was a non-event in Las Vegas. Locals simply chalked it up as a case of “Harry being Harry,” his reputation for misspeaking is well known in his home state. A much bigger ruckus was caused by President Obama last February when he said “You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers’ dime.” Even though he was referring to bankers who received taxpayer bailout dollars, it was perceived as an insult by a city that had elected him by an overwhelming majority. And now this.

Throughout the housing crisis the Las Vegas area has been at or very near the top of the foreclosure rankings. The Federal Government’s $787 billion stimulus package allocated $2 billion to help areas most affected by the housing crisis. The cities of Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and Clark County collectively applied for $367 million of that stimulus pie. It stands to reason that an area that has been called the “ground zero” of foreclosures would be in line to receive a good portion of those dollars.

Are They Serious?

On January 15th HUD announced the winners of the stimulus lottery. The money is welcomed by many cities that were hard hit by the housing collapse. Among those receiving funds:

  • Cities in Arizona – $118 million
  • Cities in California – $318 million
  • Cities in Florida – $348 million
  • Cities in Michigan – $224 million

So how much is Las Vegas getting? Local officials were fairly confident that they would get a good deal of what they asked for. Instead that go zero, zip, zilch, nada – a big, fat, nothing. Area politicians are livid.

Las Vegas Mayor, Oscar Goodman, had this to say, “It’s a slap in the face. It defies logic. We’re the poster child for economic woe at this time.”

HUD has yet to comment as to how they determined that Las Vegas wouldn’t receive funds. They merely stated that the area didn’t meet eligibility requirements. Even Reno Nevada was awarded $21 million.

What Next?

The Las Vegas area has been so hard hit by the recession. The stated unemployment rate is hovering around 13%. People are scared and angry. Much of that anger is directed at the politicians who have failed to deliver on their campaign promises. Senator Reid’s poll numbers are at an all-time low. People question why he can make backroom deals with Senators from Nebraska and Louisiana to buy their health care reform votes but he can’t deliver anything to his own state. HUD’s announcement is not going to help his reelection prospects even though he didn’t play a role in the decision.

Just when you think that things can’t get any worse for Las Vegas – they somehow do.

Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made. – Otto von Bismark

Photo: Daquella manera

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