Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Housing officials mark the impact of Tampa's stimulus money after one year

TAMPA — Eight months ago, Muquit Usama was ready to close down his commercial painting business.

As the economy tanked, the man whose company painted Tampa's Florida Aquarium suddenly found himself without enough work to stay in business and keep paying his 15 employees.

"I basically just ran out of work," Usama said. "I've always done government work. But when things slowed down, everyone who did houses went into my business and I couldn't compete with the pricing."

But thanks to the federal economic stimulus package, Usama and his workers have been busy rehabilitating public housing complexes throughout Tampa.

Usama was one of the special guests Friday at an event commemorating the one-year anniversary of the passage of the $862 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus package has created or saved between 800,000 and 2.4 million jobs.

The legislation has brought $609 million and 590 jobs to Hills­borough County; $272 million and 168 jobs to Pinellas County; and $119 million and 71 jobs to Pasco County, according to the Web site recovery.gov.

Friday's event was held at J.L. Young Apartments, a Tampa public housing complex for senior citizens, where more than $4 million in stimulus money is being spent on renovations. The project created 14 jobs.

"We couldn't have done the things we're doing without those dollars," said Jerome Ryans, president and chief executive of the Tampa Housing Authority.

The housing agency has been awarded $62 million in stimulus money, including $38 million to begin work on a 28-acre community near downtown Tampa that will hold 667 affordable rental units, 600 market rate units as well as a grocery store, hotel and offices. Called Encore, it's on a site that once held a crumbling public housing complex.

"Improving our local housing market is one of the keys to our economic recovery," said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor-D-Tampa.

But stimulus money also has helped teachers keep their jobs, funded research at the University of South Florida and Moffitt Cancer Center, and employed people at Tampa International Airport and the Tampa Port Authority, she said.

Ron Sims, deputy secretary of housing and urban development, said that the recovery act helped avoid a depression. In addition to creating jobs, it has extended unemployment benefits and kept police officers and firefighters working.

He talked about the diversity of the United States, and praised President Barack Obama for pushing the stimulus package to bring the country out of its economic slump.

"What the president has said is we're the world's grand experiment and we will not fail," he said. "We're going to be innovative, imaginative and determined."

Karen Jackson Sims, field officer director for HUD, encouraged everyone at the event, which included housing officials from Tampa, Lakeland and Sarasota, to promote the work happening in their areas because of stimulus funding.

"If you're not telling the story about what you're doing to improve the lives of the citizens of this country, no one's going to do it," she said.

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3401.

Housing officials mark the impact of Tampa's stimulus money after one year 02/19/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 19, 2010 11:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Told not to look, Donald Trump looks at the solar eclipse

    National

    Of course he looked.

    Monday's solar eclipse — life-giving, eye-threatening, ostensibly apolitical — summoned the nation's First Viewer to the Truman Balcony of the White House around 2:38 p.m. Eastern time.

    The executive metaphor came quickly.

    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump view the solar eclipse from the Truman balcony of the White House, in Washington, Aug. 21, 2017. [Al Drago | New York Times]
  2. Secret Service says it will run out of money to protect Trump and his family Sept. 30

    National

    WASHINGTON — The Secret Service said Monday that it has enough money to cover the cost of protecting President Donald Trump and his family through the end of September, but after that the agency will hit a federally mandated cap on salaries and overtime unless Congress intervenes.

    Secret service agents walk with President Donald Trump after a ceremony to welcome the 2016 NCAA Football National Champions the Clemson Tigers on the South Lawn of the White House on June 12, 2017. [Olivier Douliery | Sipa USA via TNS]
  3. After fraught debate, Trump to disclose new Afghanistan plan

    War

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will unveil his updated Afghanistan policy Monday night in a rare, prime-time address to a nation that broadly shares his pessimism about American involvement in the 16-year conflict. Although he may send a few thousand more troops, there are no signs of a major shift in …

    U.S. soldiers patrol the perimeter of a weapons cache near the U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2003. Sixteen years of U.S. warfare in Afghanistan have left the insurgents as strong as ever and the nation's future precarious. Facing a quagmire, President Donald Trump on Monday will outline his strategy for a country that has historically snared great powers and defied easy solutions.  [Associated Press (2003)]
  4. Trial begins for man accused of threatening to kill Tampa federal judge

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Jason Jerome Springer was in jail awaiting trial on a firearms charge when he heard inmates talking about a case that had made the news.

    His attorney said Jason Jerome Springer, 39, just talked, and there was “no true threat.”


  5. Editorial: Tampa Electric customers should not pay for utility's fatal misjudgments

    Editorials

    There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers. Monetary considerations will not begin to …

    LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers.