U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: FY22 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants
The Choice Neighborhoods program supports locally driven strategies that address struggling neighborhoods with severely distressed public housing and/or HUD-assisted housing through a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. Local leaders, residents, and other stakeholders, such as public housing agencies, cities, schools, police, business owners, nonprofits, and private developers, come together to create and implement a plan that revitalizes distressed HUD housing and addresses the challenges in the surrounding neighborhood. The program helps communities transform neighborhoods by redeveloping severely distressed public and/or HUD-assisted housing and catalyzing critical improvements in the neighborhood. To this end, Choice Neighborhoods is focused on three core goals:
- Housing: Replace severely distressed public and HUD-assisted housing with high-quality mixed-income housing that is well-managed and responsive to the needs of the surrounding neighborhood;
- People: Improve outcomes of households living in the target housing related to income and employment, health, and education; and
- 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.
Applicants must develop and implement a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy, or “Transformation Plan.” This Transformation Plan becomes the guiding document for the revitalization of the housing units, while simultaneously directing the transformation of the surrounding neighborhood and creating positive outcomes for families. Each Choice Neighborhoods grantee must develop a Transformation Plan, along with metrics, that addresses the following Housing, People, and Neighborhood objectives:
- Housing Objectives: Housing transformed with the assistance of Choice Neighborhoods should be Well-Managed and Financially Viable; Mixed-Income; Energy Efficient, Climate Resistant, and Sustainable; Accessible, Healthy, and Free from Discrimination. See solicitation for description of each objective.
- People Objectives: Residents who live in the target and replacement housing before and after redevelopment benefit from Effective Education; Income and Employment Opportunities; Quality Health Care; Housing Location, Quality, and Affordability. See solicitation for description of each objective.
- Neighborhood Objectives: Through investments catalyzed by Choice Neighborhoods, the neighborhood enjoys improved Private and Public Investment in the Neighborhood; Amenities; Effective Public Schools; Safety. See solicitation for description of each objective.
Successful applicants need to work with public and private agencies, organizations (including philanthropic and civic organizations), banks and financial institutions, and individuals to gather and leverage the financial and human capital resources needed to support the sustainability of the plan. Successful applicants should also undertake “doing while planning” projects during the grant period, including even modest physical improvements and investment actions that help build momentum and community support for the project, and help transition from planning to implementation phase of the project.
A Transformation Plan for the target neighborhood must include the required activities as follows:
- Ensure meaningful resident, community, and stakeholder participation throughout the development of the Transformation Plan.
- Conduct a household-level needs assessment of the public and/or assisted housing residents in the target development(s) that assesses assets and needs related to the Housing, People, and Neighborhood goals to better design solutions for challenges facing families of HUD housing. In addition, access, draw comparisons, and evaluate existing data from available sources to determine whether more comprehensive needs assessments are required at the neighborhood level.
- Devise a relocation strategy for target housing residents that need to be relocated during the rehabilitation or reconstruction of the public and/or assisted housing, as well as policies to effectuate the required return preference for target housing residents.
- Have a market assessment conducted of the target neighborhood by an independent, third-party professional during the grant period. The conclusions drawn from this study must inform the development of the Transformation Plan.
- Select the master developer/housing developer that will implement the housing component of the Transformation Plan before the end of the grant term.
- Complete a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment based on ASTM standards of the target redevelopment site(s) to determine the potential for and extent of any needed environmental remediation.
- Contact the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) to determine the potential for negative effects of demolition on historic properties if the target housing contains buildings 45 years of age or older. See solicitation for more detail on each required activity listed here.
In addition, a Transformation Plan must include objectives, strategies, and program activities under the three core goals of Housing, People, and Neighborhood. Program activities proposed by the applicant must be eligible activities, as follows:
- Conduct comprehensive needs assessments to inform the preparation of the Transformation Plan.
- Undertake a comprehensive and integrated planning process that addresses the challenges and gaps in services and assets identified through the needs assessments and leads to a plan for implementation that has broad community support.
- Conduct technical planning studies concerning local development issues, priorities, or suggested appropriate approaches in the context of the local housing market relative to other alternatives.
- Work with public and private agencies, organizations (including philanthropic organizations) and individuals to: develop a Transformation Plan that includes a governance strategy that will provide long-term accountability and secure commitments for long-term collaboration; gather and leverage resources needed to support the financial sustainability of the Transformation Plan; identify strategies for building upon and leveraging existing neighborhood efforts and anticipated Federal, state, regional and local investments; and strengthen management and decision-making capacities of participating organizations.
- Plan for the collection and strategic use of relevant data to track future community impacts once the Transformation Plan is implemented by employing statistical and qualitative analysis of specific metrics developed in partnership with the appropriate local, state, regional, and federal agencies/organizations.
- Identify best practices based on the available evidence from other grantees and community development practitioners.
- Early Action Activities (see solicitation for definitions). Up to $150,000 of grant funds may be used for Early Action Activities. See solicitation for more details of each eligible activity listed here.
Additionally, Planning Grantees must consider the following program requirements, administrative and national policy requirements, and other program priorities as they develop their Transformation Plan. See solicitation for details.
- Right to Return for Tenants
- One-for-One Replacement of Public and/or Assisted Housing Units
- Relocation and Housing Mobility Counseling
- Climate Resiliency
- Sustainable Development
- Energy Efficiency and Green Building Standards
- Environmental Justice
- Non-Fungibility for Moving To Work (MTW) Public Housing Agencies
- Fair Housing
Amount: Approximately $10,000,000 is allotted to make 20 awards of up to $500,000 each, for a project period of two years.
Matching funds in the amount of at least five percent of the requested grant amount in cash or in-kind donations must be secured and used by the end of the grant term.
Eligibility: Eligible applicants include County governments; City or township governments; Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized); Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities; and Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status, other than institutions of higher education.
Note: Specific additional requirements apply based on applicant entity type; see solicitation for details.
In addition to the requirement that an applicant must be an eligible entity, the application must also demonstrate the proposal targets an eligible housing project located in an eligible neighborhood. Each application must focus on the revitalization of at least one severely distressed public and/or assisted housing project. See solicitation for housing project criteria. An eligible neighborhood for Choice Neighborhoods grant funds is a neighborhood with at least 20 percent of the residents estimated to be in poverty or have extremely low incomes based on the most recent data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. See solicitation for neighborhood criteria.
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