The Choice Neighborhoods program supports locally driven strategies to address struggling neighborhoods with distressed public or HUD-assisted housing through a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. Local leaders, residents, and stakeholders, such as public housing authorities, cities, schools, police, business owners, nonprofits, and private developers come together to create and implement a plan that transforms distressed HUD housing and addresses the challenges in the surrounding neighborhood. The program is designed to catalyze critical improvements in neighborhood assets, including vacant property, housing services, and schools.
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; 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.
To achieve these core goals, communities must develop a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy, or Transformation Plan. This Transformation Plan will become 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. To successfully implement the Transformation Plan, applicants will need to work with public and private agencies, organizations (including philanthropic organizations), and individuals to gather and leverage resources needed to support the finial sustainability of the plan. These efforts should build community support for and involvement in the development of the plan. Implementation Grants support those communities that have undergone a comprehensive local planning process and are ready to implement their “Transformation Plan” to redevelop the neighborhood.
The Role of Schools in Neighborhood Revitalization
There is a clear and definitive role for schools in redefining a neighborhood. A school is an anchor that can assist in revitalizing a community not only through high academic instruction, but also with after school enrichment. Engaging our youth builds a foundation that produces positive outcomes shared by an entire city.
Choice Neighborhoods Initiative
On November 23, HUD Secretary Julián Castro announced the availability of new Choice Neighborhoods funding and introduced a new, innovative component to the Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant, called Planning and Action Grants.
These grants of up to $2 million will enable communities to create a locally driven plan to transform struggling neighborhoods as well as implement Action Activities, such as:
Reclaiming and recycling vacant property into community gardens, pocket parks, farmers markets, or land banking;
- Beautification, place making, and community arts projects;
- Homeowner and business façade improvement programs;
- Neighborhood broadband/Wi-Fi;
- Fresh food initiatives; and
- Gap financing for economic development projects.
Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant funds are available for public housing authorities, local governments, nonprofit organizations, and tribal entities. Because this is the first time that Action Activities funds are offered, eligible past Planning Grantees can apply for the Action Activities portion of the Planning and Action Grant, which is up to $1.5 million.
Choice Neighborhoods is a joint effort on the part of the Asbury Park Housing Authority and the City of Asbury Park to transform the Lincoln Village housing site and the surrounding West Side neighborhood boundary as identified in the Choice Neighborhood application.
The Asbury Park Housing Authority engaged the services of the architectural and planning firm Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT) to submit the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Planning Grant application.
WRT on behalf of APHA submitted the application for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative in February 2016 with plans to revitalize Lincoln Village and the West Side neighborhood of Asbury Park. The anticipated date for the Grant Award Notice is June 2016.
Choice Neighborhoods is a two-part grant; Planning and Implementation. Once / If the planning grant is approved, WRT will submit the implementation grant.