The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced that it is making available $109 million in grants to revitalize public and HUD-assisted housing and transform communities. These grants are offered through HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Program, a redevelopment approach that provides communities with tools to revitalize hard-hit communities into vibrant, opportunity-rich neighborhoods. “The Choice Neighborhoods program is critical to building stronger, safer neighborhoods that thrive and provide ladders of opportunity for hard working families,” said Shaun Donovan, HUD Secretary. “We look forward to working with community leaders across the country to expand this program, while supporting President Obama’s proven tools that strengthen and support our nation’s hard working communities.” The grantees join forces with HUD’s team, local residents and leaders in city government, business, philanthropy, law enforcement, education, and many other fields to transform struggling neighborhoods into thriving communities where families will choose to live. Choice Neighborhoods is focused on three core goals: ►Housing: Replace distressed public and assisted housing with high-quality mixed-income housing that is well-managed and responsive to the needs of the surrounding neighborhood. ►People: Improve educational outcomes and intergenerational mobility for youth with services and supports delivered directly to youth and their families. ►Neighborhood: Create the conditions necessary for public and private reinvestment in distressed neighborhoods to offer the kinds of amenities and assets, including safety, good schools, and commercial activity, that are important to families’ choices about their community. HUD’s commitment to teamwork means local residents and leaders are leading the way in revitalizing their communities. To accomplish these core goals, communities must have in place a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy, or Transformation Plan. This Transformation Plan is the guiding document for the revitalization of the public and/or assisted housing units, while simultaneously directing the transformation of the surrounding neighborhood and positive outcomes for families. Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants are available for public housing authorities, local governments, non-profit organizations, tribal entities, and for profit developers that apply jointly with a public entity to extend neighborhood transformation efforts beyond public and/or assisted housing. The program helps communities transform neighborhoods by revitalizing severely distressed public and/or HUD-assisted multi-family housing and investing and leveraging investments in well-functioning services, high quality public schools and education programs, high quality early learning programs and services, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs. Since 2010, HUD has awarded nine Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants, for a combined $231 million, to stimulate neighborhood revitalization in Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle (two grants), Cincinnati, San Antonio and Tampa. These grants have also generated nearly $2 billion in leveraged funding that significantly impacts the transformation of these communities. More resources are available to invest in neighborhoods – from businesses, foundations and other sources. Choice Neighborhoods is among other federal programs that supports President Obama’s goal to build Ladders of Opportunity for those willing to work hard and that will provide a fair shot at reaching their full potential in life. This vision builds on the work that has been done by the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, an interagency partnership between HUD, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and Treasury, since 2009. Through a variety of interventions, the Ladders of Opportunity plan will help community partners rebuild neighborhoods, expand early learning opportunities, create pathways to jobs, and strengthen families.