It’s days like today when I’m especially proud to be part of the federal government.
Five years ago, HUD together with its partners at the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, embarked on a first-of-its-kind journey to align the resources of three major agencies to support more sustainable outcomes. We did that because we knew that communities all across the country were clamoring for ways to provide more housing and transportation options for their residents, to invest more in existing communities of all sizes and types, and to leverage federal funds to increase their own economic competitiveness. Those were the values that built this Partnership, and which have guided it throughout its five years.
We responded by identifying areas where we could make the federal government work better, to get out of the way of the good ideas that bubble up in communities, and to reduce the barriers that persist in helping communities realize their dreams. We’ve also built regional replicas of the Partnership, where HUD, DOT, and EPA work together in communities – sometimes for the first time – to provide comprehensive solutions and assistance to these intricately connected issues. Those regional partnerships have changed the way the federal government responds locally, and the ever-closer collaboration and coordination at headquarters offices means a more effective and efficient pattern of federal investment. Much has been accomplished – read the Report to learn more all of these achievements – but much remains to be done.
There are still households, neighborhoods, small towns, and cities that struggle to achieve their vision for growth and development. Compounding those challenges are the new threats and uncertainties that climate change creates. Not only are local leaders under pressure to make every dollar of public investment count – now they have to do it, weighing the possibility of a very different future than current conditions. Our best strategy is to make investments in our communities that add amenities and improve conditions today but that also create resilience to the economic shocks, extreme weather events, or natural disasters that may very well affect communities in the future.
Today, under the leadership of HUD Secretary Julian Castro, DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the Partnership for Sustainable Communities is more critical than ever and we are finding new areas in which to expand our collaboration.
For more information about the Partnership for Sustainable Communities and to obtain a copy of the report, please visit www.sustainablecommunities.gov.
Harriet Tregoning is the Director of the Office of Economic Resilience.