The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that nine applicants are finalists to compete for approximately $110 million in 2012 Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants to transform public and other HUD-assisted housing in targeted neighborhoods.
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"I applaud these finalists and all of the applicants who committed an extraordinary amount of energy and effort on plans to create better housing and even greater neighborhoods," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "Choice Neighborhoods stands at the center of the Obama Administration's effort to transform distressed communities into neighborhoods of opportunity that include quality affordable housing, good schools and safe."
HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CN) promotes a comprehensive approach to transforming distressed areas of concentrated poverty into viable and sustainable mixed-income neighborhoods. Building on the successes of HUD's HOPE VI Program, Choice Neighborhoods links housing improvements with necessary services for the people who live there -- including schools, public transit and employment opportunities.
The nine finalists completed a comprehensive local planning process and are ready to move forward with their Transformation Plan to redevelop their target neighborhoods. In the coming weeks, HUD evaluation teams will visit the targeted housing and neighborhoods and meet with the applicants and partners to get a clear understanding of their individual Transformation Plans. The evaluation team will ensure the applicants are committed and capable of implementing the neighborhood transformation as described in their application.
Site visits are part of HUD's CN Implementation Grant application review process to determine which of the finalists will receive grants. The location of the applicants is not an indication of the location targeted for redevelopment. Opening the site visits to the public or revealing the location of the targeted housing or neighborhood at this stage is not permitted under the statute governing HUD's process to award competitive grants. Following the visits, HUD may also request that applicants respond to technical clarification questions.
These finalists were ranked on how well their vision addressed Choice Neighborhoods' three core goals:
Housing: Transform distressed public and assisted housing into energy efficient, mixed-income housing that is physically and financially viable over the long-term;
People: Support positive outcomes for families who live in the target development(s) and the surrounding neighborhood, particularly outcomes related to residents' health, safety, employment, mobility, and education; and
Neighborhood: Transform neighborhoods of poverty into viable, mixed-income neighborhoods with access to well-functioning services, high quality public schools and education programs, high quality early learning programs and services, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs.
The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is a centerpiece of the Obama Administration's interagency Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative -- a collaboration between the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Education, Justice, Treasury and Health and Human Services to support the ability of local leaders from the public and private sectors and attract the private investment needed to transform distressed neighborhoods into sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods with the affordable housing, safe streets and good schools every family needs.
Congress approved the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative with the passage of HUD's FY2010 budget. With the FY 2010 and 2011 funds, last year, HUD awarded its first Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants to Chicago, Boston, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle that total a $122.27 million investment to bring comprehensive neighborhood revitalization to blighted areas in these cities. HUD has also awarded $7.6 million in Choice Neighborhoods Planning grants to 30 communities to help them craft comprehensive, community-driven plans.