U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan traveled to Columbus, Ohio today to announce that four communities will receive a combined $119.7 million to redevelop severely distressed public or HUD-assisted housing and bring comprehensive neighborhood revitalization to blighted areas. HUD is awarding Choice Neighborhoods Initiative implementation grants to stakeholder groups in Columbus, Ohio; Norwalk, Connecticut; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Pittsburgh Pennsylvania in order to begin the process of transforming, rehabilitating and preserving public housing and privately owned HUD-assisted housing.
As part of HUD's overall plan for revitalizing neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, Choice Neighborhoods funds are intended to transform distressed public and assisted housing into sustainable, mixed-income housing with connection to key assets and services and to support positive outcomes for families living in the development and in the neighborhood.
"HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative supports local visions for how to transform high-poverty, distressed communities into neighborhoods of opportunity," said Donovan. "By working together, with local and state partners we will show why neighborhoods should always be defined by their potential - not their problems. Together, we will work to ensure that no child's future is determined by their zip code and expand opportunity for all."
Building on the successes of HUD's HOPE VI Program, Choice Neighborhoods links housing improvements with a wide variety of public services and neighborhood improvements to create neighborhoods of opportunity.
HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is one of the signature programs of the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which supports innovative and inclusive strategies that bring public and private partners together to help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. It encourages collaboration between HUD and the Departments of Education, Justice, Treasury and Health and Human Services to support local solutions for sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods with the affordable housing, safe streets and good schools all families need. Choice Neighborhoods also contributes to the President's Promise Zones initiative, which will revitalize up to 20 of America's highest-poverty communities by creating jobs, attracting private investment, increasing economic activity, expanding educational opportunity, and reducing violent crime.
Congress approved the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative with the passage of HUD's Fiscal Year 2010 budget. Funding is provided through two separate programs - Implementation Grants and Planning Grants. In 2011, HUD awarded its first Choice Implementation grants for Chicago, Boston, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle, a combined $122.27 million investment to bring comprehensive neighborhood revitalization to blighted areas in these cities. With today's announcement, HUD has awarded more than $350 million in Choice Implementation Grants since 2011.