HUD publishes advanced guidelines for Choice Neighborhood initiative
The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) has posted the Choice Neighborhood FY 2010 Notice of Funding Availability Pre-Notice to give potential applicants guidance prior to the actual Choice Neighborhoods funding notice, to be published this summer. The guidance offers advance details regarding the application process to compete for funds through this pilot program. "We want the Choice Neighborhood pilot program to build on the achievements and lessons learned under the HOPE VI program," said HUD Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public and Indian Housing Sandra B. Henriquez. "To do that, we believe it is absolutely necessary to inform our partners as early as possible of the tools they will need in place to be ready when the competition begins." The Pre-Notice outlines the core goals of the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative that Congress approved with the passage of HUD's FY 2010 budget. The information will help entities interested in applying for funding under Choice Neighborhoods better prepare for the Notice of Funding Availability, the official federal government application to obtain funding. "Posting guidance of this magnitude for upcoming funding availability is an unprecedented step for HUD," said Carol Galante, HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing. "We hope this early guidance is helpful and we stand ready to respond to questions for further clarifications." This is the pilot year of the competitive program that will award up to $65 million to public housing authorities, local governments and non-profit organizations to extend neighborhood transformation efforts beyond the public and or assisted housing to link housing revitalization with education reform and early childhood education. One key feature in the pilot program is the requirement that any public housing or other HUD-assisted housing unit demolished under the program must be replaced with another unit unless there are valid, quantifiable reasons for exception. The program widens the traditional pool of eligible applicants by allowing for-profit developers to submit joint applications with a public entity. The Pre-Notice introduces key program elements and activities as well as the framework of the competition HUD will use to award this year's grants. While the nearly 20-year-old HOPE VI Revitalization Program has been successful at transforming neighborhoods with distressed public housing into revitalized mixed-income communities, Choice Neighborhoods aims to use a more comprehensive approach to community development with housing transformation as its center. The program also expands targeted units to include both public and assisted housing. For more information, visit www.hud.gov.