Four American communities are getting a face-lift. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced Monday that the department was awarding four cities a combined $119.7 million to redevelop and bring revitalization to blighted areas.
The grants were awarded to stakeholder groups in Columbus, Ohio; Norwalk, Connecticut; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Each city will receive $30 million with the exception of Columbus, which will receive $29.7 million.
The award is the latest extension of the department’s "Choice Neighborhoods Initiative," which attempts to take a comprehensive approach to struggling neighborhood revitalization through the renovation of severely distressed public or HUD-assisted housing. The desired result is the creation of a vibrant, mixed income neighborhood that will beautify cities and reduce crime.
"HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative supports local visions for how to transform high-poverty, distressed communities into neighborhoods of opportunity," Donovan said. "By working together, with local and state partners we will show why neighborhoods should always be defined by their potential—not their problems. Together, we will work to ensure that no child's future is determined by their zip code and expand opportunity for all."
HUD received 44 applications for implementation grants from cities all over the country. As part of the initiative, communities are required to develop a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy. Community leaders and community members are expected to collaborate to put a financially viable approach in place. The grants are divided between implementation grants such as the awards announced and planning grants that assist communities in developing successful neighborhood transition plans.
Congress approved the funding of the initiative with the passage of HUD’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget. Overall, HUD has awarded more than $350 million in Choice Implementation Grants since 2011. The department has requested that Congress appropriate $355 million for implementation grants in 2014.