AUSTIN, TX - U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro announced funding available to help local communities across the country to redevelop severely distressed public and HUD-assisted housing and transform surrounding neighborhoods. This funding would increase if there is an FY2015 appropriation from Congress.
Part of the Obama Administration's effort to build Ladders of Opportunity to the middle class, HUD is offering grants of up to $30 million through its Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Program to support locally driven solutions for transforming neighborhoods struggling to address poor quality housing, inadequate schools, poor health, high crime, and lack of capital.
Speaking at the annual convention of the National League of Cities (NLC) in Austin, Texas, Castro said the grants will help create jobs, increase economic activity, improve affordable housing, reduce violence and expand educational opportunities. Grantees and their partners use the funds as a catalyst - stimulating approximately $7.50 in public and private investment for every $1 in the Choice Neighborhoods funding.
"These Choice Neighborhood grants will empower local communities to leverage public and private investment and achieve greater collective impact," Castro said. "We look forward to working with community leaders to breathe new life into struggling neighborhoods-and to transform them into places where residents can flourish and dreams can thrive."
Choice Neighborhoods is HUD's signature place-based initiative and its vision builds on the work that has been done by the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, an interagency partnership between HUD, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and Treasury, since 2009. Through a variety of interventions, the Ladders of Opportunity plan will help community partners rebuild neighborhoods, expand early learning opportunities, create pathways to jobs, and strengthen families. Choice Neighborhoods is focused on three core goals:
- Housing: Replace distressed public and assisted housing with high-quality mixed-income housing that is well-managed and responsive to the needs of the surrounding neighborhood.
- People: Improve educational outcomes and intergenerational mobility for youth with services and supports delivered directly to youth and their families.
- Neighborhood: Create the conditions necessary for public and private reinvestment in distressed neighborhoods to offer the kinds of amenities and assets, including safety, good schools, and commercial activity, that are important to families' choices about their community.
HUD's commitment to teamwork means local residents and leaders are leading the way in revitalizing their communities. To accomplish these core goals, communities must have in place a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy, or Transformation Plan. This Transformation Plan is the guiding document for the revitalization of the public and/or assisted housing units, while simultaneously directing the transformation of the surrounding neighborhood and positive outcomes for families.
Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants are available for public housing authorities, local governments, nonprofit organizations, tribal entities, and for profit developers that apply jointly with a public entity to extend neighborhood transformation efforts beyond public and/or assisted housing. The program helps communities transform neighborhoods by revitalizing severely distressed public and/or HUD-assisted multifamily housing and investing and leveraging investments in well-functioning services, high quality public schools and education programs, high quality early learning programs and services, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs.
Today, Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grantees can be found in cities such as Boston, Columbus, and San Antonio. In Boston, a local community economic development corporation successfully converted a vacant, blighted 36,000 square-foot factory into a food production hub that is expected to bring 50 businesses and 150 jobs to the local neighborhood in its first five years of operation. In Columbus, the City, Housing Authority, and The Ohio State University are now implementing a community driven Transformation Plan with the support of Choice Neighborhoods funds in over $180 million in public and private sources. Finally, cities like San Antonio have leveraged Choice Neighborhoods efforts with federal funding to improve schools and public safety - an effort that has led to a Promise Zones designation.