Rockford Housing Authority receives $300,000 grant
Online Staff Report
CHICAGO — U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Midwest Regional Administrator Antonio R. Riley joined Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) and Rockford Housing Authority (RHA) Executive Director John Cressman Jan. 10 to announce the RHA will receive a $300,000 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant.
Rockford is one of 13 cities nationwide receiving this funding to begin a grassroots effort to revitalize the Fairgrounds Valley Apartments, a distressed public housing development, and transform the Fairgrounds and Ellis Heights neighborhood.
“All across the country, local planners are serious about rolling up their sleeves to transform distressed neighborhoods into choice neighborhoods,” Riley said. “This community can now begin the comprehensive planning needed to turn the distressed housing at the Fairground Valley Apartments in Fairground and Ellis Heights, a long-neglected neighborhood, into a viable and sustainable mixed-income community that supports positive outcome for families.”
Cressman added: “This grant is one more tool that enables RHA to accomplish our organizational mission to be a catalyst for positive change in the neighborhoods where our RHA residents live.”
Building on nearly 20 years of success through HUD’s HOPE VI Program, Choice Neighborhoods links housing improvements with a wider variety of public services including schools, public transit and employment opportunities. The program is a centerpiece of Barack Obama’s administration’s interagency Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, a collaboration between HUD and the Departments of Education, Justice, Treasury and Health and Human Services.
With support from the White House Domestic Policy Council and White House Office of Urban Affairs, the interagency partnership supports local solutions for sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods with the affordable housing, safe streets and good schools all families need.
HUD received 71 submissions for FY 2011 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants from communities across the U.S. Successful applicants demonstrated their intent to transform neighborhoods while leveraging outside investments and other federal dollars to plan for high-quality public schools, outstanding education and early learning programs, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs and well-functioning services.
HUD is focused on directing resources to address three core goals — housing, people and neighborhoods.
The communities awarded the planning grants will build the capacity needed to undertake a successful neighborhood transformation and create a choice neighborhood. These grants enable communities to create a comprehensive Transformation Plan, or road map, to transform distressed public and/or assisted housing within a distressed community. This federal support provides a significant incentive for the local community to take critical steps to create viable neighborhood transformation.
Recently, HUD announced Partner.HUD.gov, an innovative online platform to spotlight comprehensive information about grantees and top-tier applicants with the hope that others will consider providing resources. This web portal is intended to provide information funders and other local stakeholders can use to support applications HUD deemed promising, but was unable to fund. The site also offers communities greater access to similar work happening around the country and provides best-practice models that might help shape their efforts. Today’s 2011 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant recipients and the eight competitive runners-up, will be featured on Partner.HUD.gov next week.
Congress approved the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative with the passage of HUD’s FY 2010 budget, and in FY 2011 authorized HUD to use $65 million to provide competitive grants to assist in the transformation, rehabilitation and preservation of public housing and privately owned HUD-assisted housing. Congress recently appropriated $120 million for Fiscal Year 2012. Choice Neighborhoods builds on the successes and lessons of HUD’s HOPE VI program and widens the traditional pool of eligible applicants beyond public housing authorities to include local governments, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit developers (who apply jointly with a public entity).
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