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Choice Neighborhoods

Senate Subcommittees Approve $60 Million for Promise, $120 Million for Choice Neighborhoods for 2012

The Senate Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over funding for Promise Neighborhoods today passed a bill that includes $60 million for the Promise Neighborhoods program for the 2012 federal fiscal year, a doubling of the $30 million that was provided for this year.

The bill was supported by Democrats on a party line 10-8 vote. It must now move to the full Senate Appropriations Committee and then to the Senate floor. The Republican-controlled House must also pass the bill before it becomes law, so the $60 million in proposed funding is far from assured.

A separate Senate Appropriations subcommittee approved $120 million for the Choice Neighborhoods program, an increase from $65 million in funding this year. This funding must also be approved by the full Senate and House before it becomes law.

A summary of the full Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill (S. 1599), which contains the proposed Promise Neighborhoods funding, can be found here. A summary of the HUD funding bill, which contains the proposed Choice Neighborhoods funding, can be found here.

Update: The full Senate Appropriations Committee adopted the Promise Neighborhoods funding bill (Labor-HHS-Ed) by voice vote on September 21. It is awaiting action by the full Senate.

Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants Announced

HUD today announced 5 Choice Neighborhoods implementation grant winners. The five winning neighborhoods are in Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Seattle. The applicant coalitions will receive a combined $122 million in funding, with grants ranging from $10.3 million to $30.5 million.

The winning Boston application includes the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, one of last year's 21 Promise Neighborhoods planning grant winners. The winning Chicago application includes the Jane Addams Hull House, an UNCA member agency (both UNCA and Hull House were founded by Jane Addams). Summaries of the five winning applications are here.

For those trying to keep track of where we are on Choice Neighborhoods, today's announcement establishes the first cohort of Choice Neighborhoods implementation grants. The first cohort of planning grant winners was announced back in March.  A second round of planning applications was submitted in August and winners are expected to be announced later this year.

I hope to do a full report on Choice Neighborhoods soon, similar to the comprehensive report I did on Promise Neighborhoods last December (What It Took: Lessons learned from the first cohort of Promise Neighborhoods planning grant applications). That will depend on my ability to get more detailed information on the Choice Neighborhoods winners. Also in the works: a second report on Promise Neighborhoods, with a special emphasis on the implementation grants that will be announced later this year.

Update: Larkin Tackett at the Department of Education did a nice blog piece on the intersection between Promise and Choice Neighborhoods. It is here.

HUD Seeks Choice Neighborhoods Director

From our friends at HUD:

Dear Choice Neighborhoods supporter,

HUD has advertised a position for the Director of Choice Neighborhoods, with applications/resumes due on Monday, August 29.  Please help us spread the advertisement to well-qualified professionals in the field of affordable housing and community development that may be seeking a new challenge.

The formal posting in on the www.USAjobs.gov website.  The position shows up as a Supervisory Public Housing Revitalization Specialist in the Office of Public Housing Investments.  Here are the links:

For applicants external to Federal Government:


For applicants internal to Federal Government:


Here is a description of the position and the office:

Choice Neighborhoods Director Job Opportunity

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is seeking a dynamic leader to help implement and oversee the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, a signature program launched in 2010 that provides competitive grants to assist in the transformation, rehabilitation and preservation of public and privately owned HUD-assisted housing as part of an overall plan to revitalize neighborhoods of concentrated poverty.  Choice Neighborhoods targets neighborhoods with severely distressed public and/or assisted housing, a concentration of poverty and other characteristics of neighborhood distress.  The program builds on the lessons learned from HOPE VI and is a large part of the Administration’s effort toward investing in new strategies that holistically address the interconnected challenges in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, including housing decay, and lack of educational prospects, employment opportunities and crime.

Choice Neighborhoods improves the quality of life in these neighborhoods through its three core goals: Housing, People and Neighborhood.  The Housing goal transforms distressed public and assisted housing into housing that is mixed-income, energy efficient and physically and financially viable over the long term.  The People goal supports positive outcomes for children and adults who live in the target development area and the surrounding neighborhood through improvements in education, health, safety and employment.  The Neighborhood goal transforms neighborhoods of poverty into neighborhoods of opportunity by increasing resident access to important services.  The three core goals combine to serve the larger goal of transforming neighborhoods of concentrated poverty into viable, mixed-income neighborhoods with access to key assets and services.

The Director will participate in solving some of the Nation's most complex and plaguing problems associated with public and assisted housing located in poor neighborhoods and lead the Choice Neighborhoods team in its work toward establishing innovative partnerships to end the isolation of public and assisted housing and improve the quality of life for individuals living in the distressed neighborhoods.  Specific tasks include, but are not limited to, grant management, philanthropic outreach, policy development and working with other federal staff on the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, an interagency collaborative that includes HUD and the Departments of Education, Justice, Health and Human Services and Treasury.  The Department seeks a dynamic leader who has worked within the neighborhood revitalization community, with on-the-ground experience and connections with other leaders and organizations.  This individual must have superior communication, interpersonal and organization skills, as well as experience working with individuals from multiple backgrounds.  The best leader will also possess significant outreach and teambuilding skills and has experience with public housing and multifamily development, other affordable housing development including housing financed with Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), bonds and other sources of  layered financing, homeownership, asset management, community development, community building, and community and supportive services work.

The Director of Choice Neighborhoods will report to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Public Housing Investments, within HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing.  The Office of Public Housing Investments (OPHI), in collaboration with HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing, administers the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative.  OPHI’s mission is develop, operate and sustain public housing and mixed-income communities through a variety of housing opportunities that support families and assist individuals to become self-sufficient.  This Director position is located in Washington, D.C. and is at the GS-15 grade (salary range $123,758 to $155,500).

Promise and Choice Neighborhoods Peer Reviewers Sought

The Department of Education is seeking peer reviewers for the 2011 competition.Applications are due August 8. More information can be found here.

The Choice Neighborhoods team is also looking for peer reviewers. Interested applicants should submit information by July 27. More information is here.

Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant Notice Published

HUD today released the grant notice for the second round of planning grants under the Choice Neighborhoods program. HUD expects to award about 12 grants worth up to $300,000 each. Applications will be due August 8.

The "Notice of Funding Availability" is here. The press release is here.

Related article: Choice Neighborhoods Update


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by Dr. Radut