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The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced $33 million available for a unique housing and youth development initiative.

HUD’s four-year-old Youthbuild program, which is open to nonprofits and city and state agencies, teaches young people well-paying construction skills while they build affordable housing. Four New York City groups, including the New York City Housing Authority and Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association, netted $2.1 million in Youthbuild funding last November to create 400 units built by 200 high school dropouts.

“It’s not just about giving kids construction training and it’s not about just getting your GED,” said Dick Mendel of the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Cooperation, whose Youthbuild workers will build Nehemiah housing and study for high school equivalency diplomas. “It’s both of those things, and building leadership in these kids and giving them a sense of purpose.” To apply for Youthbuild funds, call 1-800-HUD-8929.

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