The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is awarding seven Choice Neighborhoods Planning grants worth $3.2 million in six cities, HUD Secretary Julián Castro announced while speaking to grant recipient Louisville Metro Housing Authority in Kentucky on Friday. HUD's signature place-based initiative, Choice Neighborhoods' goal is to transform those neighborhoods that are struggling to address the challenges of distressed housing, inadequate schools, poor health, high crime, and lack of capital, which are all interconnected.
Choice Neighborhood Planning grants were awarded to revitalize neighborhoods in Flint, Michigan; Gary, Indiana; Louisville, Kentucky; North Las Vegas, Nevada; and St. Louis Missouri. Two neighborhoods in Mobile, Alabama received grants. Choice Neighborhoods builds on the work of the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, a partnership formed in 2009 between HUD, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and Treasury.
A first-look reading of the University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters consumer confidence index shows the measure climbed to 98.2 as of mid-January, up nearly five points from a final December reading of 93.6 and from a consensus forecast of 94.1 among economists polled by Thomson Reuters. January's increase, which lifted the index to its highest level since 2004, was driven by an improvement in personal finances, with more consumers reporting increases in household income than any time in the past decade. Lower prices at the pump are also helping, leaving Americans with more spending money.