July 11, 2011

Strengthening our cities and communities

I was proud to join Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and other leaders at the state and local level in Detroit today to announce the Obama Administration’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is a major part of this unprecedented White House partnership, which helps local governments in six American cities do more with the federal resources they receive.

In Detroit, Cleveland, New Orleans, Memphis, Fresno, Calif., and Chester, Pa., this administration is putting in place collaboration between federal agencies and every level of government to help these cities thrive again. They are cities built with the American Dream as their foundation, places that once buzzed with not just the energy and excitement and manufacturing but with the promise and hope of our nation as well.

These cities have fallen on hard times. We all have. But just because they’ve been knocked down doesn’t mean they won’t get back up – and I’m proud to say President Obama, HUD and I are helping them do just that.

By cutting through red tape and breaking down the traditional silos that have plagued federal efforts, we’re rebuilding the cities that built America in new and effective ways. These cities can’t rely on the old way of doing business, and neither can their government. Instead of competing against each other, we’re establishing partnerships at the city, state and federal level help these great cities get the assistance they need, and ensure the resources they receive go to work in the most efficient way possible.

The key to the success of these six cities and ones like them across the country is preparing them for the 21st Century’s global economy. American cities built around the automotive industries, or other manufacturing jobs that have left for distant shores, clearly need a new, strategic approach from all levels of their government to make them more efficient and competitive. Doing so puts them, and this nation as a whole, in the best position to win the future.

In the short term, the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative will ensure collaboration between agencies like HUD and the Department of Transportation, and open lines of communication between the federal government and local officials. That way, we’ll know what kind of help they need and how best to improve these great cities.

I also know the importance of making sure this initiative, and this nation as a whole, works within its means. It’s a value the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative embodies: Rather than throw money at existing problems and rely on the old way of doing business, we’re showing these cities how they can do more with the resources they have.

Strong Cities, Strong Communities is about rebuilding some of America’s greatest cities, and doing so in a responsible way. Winning the future requires that we not only work harder, but that we work smarter as well, reducing our nation’s deficit while doing more to help cities that need and deserve our help.

Times are tough, but as I saw today the American Dream is alive in Detroit and in cities and towns across this country. To save that dream we need new ways to help America’s great cities, strategies that shun traditional inefficiency and welcome collaboration and new ideas.

That’s what we announced in Detroit today, and that’s what we’re taking to six cities across America as part of President Obama’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative.

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