U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today announced $600,000 in federal funding for Newark and Camden to develop plans to revitalize public housing and transform distressed neighborhoods in their cities. The plans will be developed in consultation with public housing residents, local businesses, government officials, and other community members. The New Jersey cities are two of only 17 localities from across the country that were competitively selected in this round of Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants distributed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
"I am championing the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative because I believe we must take a comprehensive approach to rebuilding struggling neighborhoods - an approach which recognizes the importance of providing affordable housing, but also addresses the need for access to transportation, good jobs, schools and supportive services," said Senator Menendez, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development. "These grants will help Camden and Newark Housing Authorities - along with local stakeholders - create comprehensive revitalization plans that will build on neighborhood assets, address community needs and guide investments."
"This federal funding will help community leaders in Newark and Camden develop long-term plans to revitalize local neighborhoods and ensure families have a safe place to raise their children," said Senator Lautenberg, a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, which funds HUD. "We will continue fighting for federal funding to build opportunities in our neighborhoods and provide New Jersey's families with access to safe, affordable housing."
The Newark Housing Authority will receive $300,000 to develop a plan to revitalize public housing at Seth Boyden Terrace and transform the Dayton Street neighborhood. The Newark Housing Authority and its partners will engage the community to create a plan for how the 86-acre neighborhood can be transformed to provide improved housing, educational outcomes, and job opportunities for residents by integrating the isolated neighborhood of Dayton Street into the City of Newark.
The Housing Authority of the City of Camden (HACC) will receive $300,000 to develop a plan to revitalize public housing at Clement T. Branch Village and transform the Mt. Ephraim neighborhood. HACC and its team, including residents and other partners, will craft a comprehensive neighborhood rejuvenation plan to provide residents with new economic and job opportunities, energy- and cost-efficient housing, as well as better access to quality transportation, education, and health care.
Senator Menendez introduced the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Act (S. 624) in March 2011 to authorize the program under which these grants were made. The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative expands and improves upon HUD's successful HOPE VI program to revitalize distressed neighborhoods. Competitive grants are awarded to assist in the transformation, rehabilitation and preservation of public housing and privately-owned but HUD-assisted housing as part of an overall plan for revitalizing the neighborhoods where the housing is located. Choice Neighborhoods also expands the criteria used to award the grants to include factors such as plans for improvements in education and transportation. In March 2012, he also chaired a Housing Subcommittee hearing on the topic.