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“Sustainable communities” is a trendy term not often bandied about in urban neighborhoods where residents are worried about finding jobs, adequate housing, and in some cases, easy access to basic services like a local supermarket. But the Obama administration hopes to change that through its Partnership for Sustainable Communities, an initiative established by the Department of Housing and Development, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. The $200 million grant program aims to redevelop urban centers and small cities around the nation so they can provide affordable, energy-efficient housing near employment opportunities, better public transportation options and green spaces.
In a conference call with reporters, HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims maintains that grant applications must include detailed plans, policies and implementation strategies to accomplish those goals and include evidence of input from the people who would be most directly impacted. Grants will not be awarded to any applicant that does not address all of those issues, Sims said. Before publishing a notice of fund availability the agencies sought input from state and local governments that were asked to identify how they would reallocate existing resources to complement a grant award. So far, 1,400 jurisdictions have expressed interest. Applications must be submitted by August 23, at 11:59:59 p.m., EDT.
“We see these grants as being very transformative,” Sims says. “It’s important to see job and economic growth in every one of the communities. We want communities to be viable in the long run.”
HUD has established two funding categories. Category 1 will support preparation of regional development plans while Category 2 will bring them in line with the partnership’s livability principles.
A fact sheet on the program can be viewed here.