Today HUD announced that 17 communities across the U.S. will receive HUD’s first Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants. While the maximum grant is only $250,000, the lasting impact this funding will have on children who have been left behind in some of this nation’s poorest neighborhoods is infinite.
For example, this funding will allow the Albany (NY) Housing Authority and its partners to develop a plan to not only bring quality, affordable housing, but new educational opportunities to the West Central Albany neighborhood. In Baltimore, Md., Jubilee Baltimore, a non-profit organization that develops and renovates real estate, and its partners will use the funding to start comprehensive talks that will begin the transformation of Central West Baltimore. Discussions will include a locally-driven plan for the redevelopment of Pedestal Gardens, a 203-unit HUD-assisted housing project, which will bring residents better housing; diversified retail options in the neighborhood and updates to the community’s transportation system.
There are 15 other stories like these that will fulfill the mission of the Choice Neighborhoods Program – to promote a comprehensive approach to transforming distressed areas of concentrated poverty into viable and sustainable mixed-income neighborhoods. Building on the successes of HUD’s HOPE VI Program, Choice Neighborhoods will link housing improvements with a wider variety of public services including schools, public transit and employment opportunities.
The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is a centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s interagency Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative – a collaboration between the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Education, Justice, Treasury and Health and Human Services to support the ability of local leaders from the public and private sectors and attract the private investment needed to transform distressed neighborhoods into sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods with the affordable housing, safe streets and good schools every family needs.