Sneak Preview: HUD Awards Millions in Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants

January 24, 2012 | By Adrianne Fielding | Post a Comment

(This post is excerpted from an article in Thompson’s Local/State Funding Report. Subscribers can find the rest of the story in the Jan. 23 issue.) Earlier this month, Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced 13 awards totaling $3.6 million through its Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants program.

The award recipients were selected from a pool of 71 applications for FY 2011 funding. The planning grants were awarded to projects in Ohio, Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida, Illinois, California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina and the District of Columbia.

The agency considers the Choice Neighborhood program an extension of its longstanding HOPE VI program.  Planning grants support the development of comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plans, which are otherwise known as transformation plans. Transformation plans must focus on the Choice Neighborhoods program’s core goals in the areas of:

  • Housing:  Transforming distressed public and assisted housing into long-term, energy efficient, mixed-income housing;
  • People:  Supporting positive health, safety, employment, mobility, education and other outcomes for families in the target development(s) and surrounding neighborhood; and
  • Neighborhood:  Transforming neighborhoods of poverty into mixed-income neighborhoods with access to high-quality public services, programs and resources.

HUD separately awards Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grants to support communities that have already performed comprehensive planning and are ready to implement the transformation plan to redevelop their neighborhood.  In August of last year, projects in Chicago, Boston, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle received the program’s first implementation grants, which totaled $122 million.

Applications for the next round of implementation grants are due on April 10. HUD has $110 million in funding available for that competition and expects to make five awards. Eligible applicants are public housing authorities, local governments, nonprofits, tribal entities and for-profit developers that apply jointly with a public entity.

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