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HUD Releases “An Early Look at Choice Neighborhoods”

Collaborative, place-based planning for neighborhood revitalization in areas of concentrated poverty is certainly a common-sense idea with a lot of intuitive appeal. But what do the data say? The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is trying to examine just that with an ongoing, systemic evaluation of the Choice Neighborhoods program. Piloted in 2010, Choice Neighborhoods is HUD’s piece of the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, a federal effort to implement integrative, cross-agency, place-based policy solutions for communities blighted by long-term concentrated poverty.
A new interim report, entitled An Early Look at Choice Neighborhoods, takes a qualitative and quantitative approach to monitoring the impacts of Choice Neighborhoods on five of the original implementation sites. The report includes a baseline measurement of community characteristics such as housing stock, demographics, poverty, unemployment, and violent crime in the five neighborhoods. This helpful baseline will be used to assess the impacts of Choice Neighborhoods.
The quality and thoroughness of the report is a promising sign for just how seriously HUD is taking the budding Choice Neighborhoods initiative. Ongoing monitoring will help to identify any problems at an early and hopefully minor stage. It also signals the interest in sustaining the impacts of the program long beyond the grant terms. Hopefully, the seriousness with which HUD and the Choice Neighborhood teams are treating the demonstration of impact is a sign of a sea change in community development policy; moving away from a quick-fix mentality informed by the latest ideology and toward holistic, long-term commitments better informed by the unique needs of neighborhoods.

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Blog | by Dr. Radut