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Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative

New Changes and the 2013 Neighborhood Revitalization Conference

We are excited to bring you several new changes regarding the Building Neighborhoods blog.  The design and navigation of the blog is in the process of being improved.  We hope you find this new version easier to use than the original blog. Second, our email provider has changed – if you’d like to continue receiving our email be sure to safe list our email address.

We also have new faces to introduce to you.  First is Maria Van Hoorn, the Asset Coordinator for Neighborhood Revitalization at United Neighborhood Centers of America (UNCA).  Maria works closely with members and colleagues to assess and document their assets within the realm of neighborhood revitalization. Maria will be joining UNCA President, Ian Bautista, and me in providing you with updates about federal urban policy issues, with a focus on President Obama’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, social innovation, and relevant state and local place-based efforts on this blog. Any future information, tips, and inquiries concerning the blog can be directed to Maria. Next is Kate Buchanan, the new Health Policy Analyst in our DC public policy office.  Kate will help us keep you apprised of developments in public health and other issues related to our work.

Lastly, it’s with much excitement that invite you to the 2013 UNCA Neighborhood Revitalization Conference for Thursday, June 27 and Friday, June 28th in Washington D.C. Join members, stakeholders, issue experts, government officials, and community practitioners, as we explore neighborhood revitalization in communities across the United States. Visit UNCA’s website for information on the 2013 conference or the Building Neighborhoods blog for details about the conference in previous years.

If your organization has a cutting edge strategy that is improving the lives of residents in your community or you have established a successful cross sector partnership, you should consider presenting a workshop at the conference.  UNCA is accepting proposals for workshop presentations now. For more details or to download a workshop proposal, visit UNCA’s website. The deadline for the workshop proposals is Friday, February 8th. See you there!

White House Hosts Forum on Urban Innovation

Earlier this week the White House opened its doors to community leaders from across the country for a Forum on Urban Innovation. The event brought Obama Administration officials together with an invited group of innovators to share best practices, talk through some of the challenges in the field, and discuss how the federal government can better support community-based efforts. The event also featured panels showcasing several successful local efforts, including the following:

  • Neighborhood Centers, Inc., an UNCA member that was awarded a planning grant from the Department of Education for Houston’s Gulfton Promise Neighborhood.
  • The City of Hartford, whose mayor presented on Opportunities Hartford, a citywide effort to expand existing educational, job and income opportunities in the city.
  • Venture Philanthropy Partners, a DC-based philanthropic investment organization whose YouthCONNECT resource on disconnected youth received a Social Innovation Fund grant.
  • IBM, whose Smarter Cities Initiative provides participating municipalities with a team of fellows to help tackle unique urban challenges.
  • The City of New York, where the Mayor’s Office has created a digital roadmap to connect jobseekers with employment.
  • McCormack Baron Salazar, an urban real estate development firm working as part of a HOPE SF, a Choice Neighborhoods implementation site in San Francisco.
  • The City of Pittsburgh, which is celebrating its “Third Renaissance” as it has diversified its economy with burgeoning employment fields and comprehensive community development efforts.
  • 100,000 Homes, a national movement of communities working together to find permanent homes for vulnerable and chronically homeless individuals and families.
  • The Jacobs Family Foundation, which showcased Market Creek Plaza, its community-owned commercial development in San Diego that utilized a community development IPO.

Participants had the opportunity to engage with other community-based practitioners and share candid feedback with Administration officials on a variety of key issues. Overall, the summit highlighted promising practices and saw a robust discussion of targeted solutions working on the neighborhood level. As attendees were encouraged to spread the word and engage in conversation online, talking points and follow up can be found on Twitter at #WHInnovation.

UNCA's 2012 Neighborhood Revitalization Conference This Week

We hope you'll be able to join us in Washington, DC for this year's Neighborhood Revitalization conference. If you are interested in attending and have not yet registered, please visit UNCA's website for details.

Join colleagues from around the country as we explore what is working and what is changing in the field of comprehensive community building. Issue experts, local initiatives, and government representatives will lead sessions, including:

  • Lessons from implementing revitalization initiatives
  • Linking neighborhoods to citywide and metropolitan efforts
  • Integrating programs
  • Data, management and evaluation
  • The importance of neighborhood leadership and stewardship to sustainable revitalization efforts

See below for our schedule at-a-glance:

Thursday, August 2

  • 7-8:30 a.m. Breakfast and Networking
  • 8:30-11:30 a.m. Workshops
  • 12-2 p.m. Lunch with guest speaker
  • 2-5 p.m. Workshops
  • 5-6:30 p.m. Reception
  • 6:30 p.m. Dinner on own

Friday, August 3

  • 7-8:30 a.m. Breakfast
  • 8:30-11 a.m. Workshops
  • 11:15-Noon Closing Session

Specific program details available here.

CSSP Wins Federal Building Neighborhood Capacity Program Grant

The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) has won a $2 million federal grant to provide technical assistance to help up to five local neighborhoods develop comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plans.

The grant program will be overseen by the Department of Justice in cooperation with the Departments of Education (ED), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Treasury. These agencies will work with CSSP in administering the grant.

Budget Deal May Cut Some Low-income Programs

For now, the verdict on the budget deal struck by the Obama administration and congressional leaders over the weekend appears to be: bad, but it could have been worse.

The deal protects entitlements like Social Security, Medicaid, and food stamps for now, but it will likely produce some cuts in some non-entitlement programs while freezing spending for most of the others at current levels. If approved, it would avert a possible default on the national debt and push the issue into 2013, after the 2012 elections.

The deal is divided into two parts, the first of which relies on new spending caps that would save $917 billion over 10 years (from 2012-2021), $350 billion of which would come from defense spending. In fiscal 2012, the deal includes $1.043 trillion in discretionary spending (excluding entitlements), about $7 billion less than 2011, but $44 billion below what it would be if 2011 spending were adjusted for inflation. After that, non-entitlement spending would grow slightly every year, enough to offset inflation, reaching $1.234 trillion in 2021.

Congress would need to decide how to allocate this overall spending among specific programs. Some limited cuts could be imposed on some non-entitlement spending programs, including some block grants, for example. Spending for most other non-entitlement programs is likely to be held constant, with no adjustment for inflation in 2012. Entitlements like Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security would not be affected.

The second part of the deal is more complicated. First, it would create a 12-member bipartisan commission to develop a legislative proposal to cut spending by an additional $1.5 trillion from 2013 through 2021. The commission’s proposal would be submitted to Congress by November 23 and be voted on in both the House and Senate by December 23.

The deal also requires a vote on a balanced budget amendment between October 1 and December 31, although the contents of that balanced budget amendment are not specified. If either the spending cuts or balanced budget amendment is enacted, the debt ceiling would be increased by another $1.5 trillion, enough to support current obligations through early 2013.

To put pressure on Congress to reach a deal, the proposal includes a trigger mechanism that would force across-the-board spending cuts if the bipartisan commission does not adopt, and Congress does not subsequently approve, spending cuts worth at least $1.2 trillion from 2013-2021. The across-the-board cuts would affect both entitlements and discretionary spending, split evenly between domestic programs and defense spending. Social Security, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, and low-income programs would be exempt. Medicare would be included in the cuts, but the cuts would be focused on providers, not recipients. Under the trigger, the debt ceiling would be increased by another $1.2 trillion, still enough to push the issue into 2013.

While tax increases are not explicitly part of the deal, they remain a strong factor. If nothing is done, Bush-era tax cuts are slated to expire in early 2013. For this reason, taxes are likely to be on the table at some point. Altogether, a combination of pending tax increases when the Bush-era tax cuts expire, another debt ceiling crisis when the new debt ceiling is reached, and trigger-based domestic and defense cuts may be enough to bring the two parties together for a deal in 2012, probably after the election.

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by Dr. Radut