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Promise Neighborhoods

Choice Neighborhoods

White House staff have indicated that they are planning to integrate, to the greatest extent possible, the Promise Neighborhoods initiative with another run out of HUD, called Choice Neighborhoods.

Choice Neighborhoods is a $250 million initiative intended "to transform neighborhoods of extreme poverty into functioning, sustainable mixed-income neighborhoods with well-functioning services, schools, public assets, transportation, and access to jobs."

'Choice' neighborhoods to combat poverty cycle
Washington Times | Tuesday, May 12, 2009

By Christina Bellantoni

The Obama administration is proposing a new program that aims to transform the nation's poorest neighborhoods from head-to-toe: taking 10 urban centers with high concentrations of public housing and improving it while adding day care centers and even farmers markets, sidewalks and parks.

The $250 million proposal is a planning experiment and one of the most progressive proposals under consideration for the next budget year, building upon the Hope VI program, which over the past 17 years has torn down nearly 100,000 of the worst public housing projects in the country.

The initiative, if approved by Congress, will operate in the same way by redeveloping public and assisted housing, but it will include community development, and applicants will have to prove the transformation would be catalytic, said Bruce Katz, a senior adviser to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.

HUD estimates 10 cities would be granted the funding after a competitive process, and to qualify, at least 40 percent of a neighborhood's residents must live below the federal poverty line of about $22,000 for a family of four.

The communities awarded the "choice" grants will need to provide matching funding from state or local authorities or from private funding. If the money is approved, HUD will craft guidelines for using the funds that will spell out how the money can be spent and metrics for measuring how the grant recipients are performing.

The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative also aims to partner with the proposed Promise Neighborhoods effort in the Department of Education budget. That program, which President Obama wants to fund at $10 million, is modeled after one in New York's Harlem and offers community organizations grants to improve low-performing school districts with day care centers and college-training programs.

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