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January 2015 Featured Article

Featured Article

Giving Communities with Distressed Housing a Real Choice
Triad Associates

In many dense communities throughout New Jersey, municipalities look for development and redevelopment strategies that can foster vibrant neighborhoods that meet the needs of all. Until recently, HUD funding was limited in its capacity to encourage mixed income and mixed use redevelopment that would encourage greater integration of its neighborhoods. Such endeavors require strong public and private partnerships, greater community involvement and increased diversity of housing types. First funded in 2010, HUD’s Choice program was established to replace HOPE VI with these goals in mind.

The Choice Neighborhoods initiative continues to assist municipalities in better addressing struggling neighborhoods with distressed public housing or HUD-Assisted Housing, but with a more comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. Local leaders, residents, stakeholders, municipal officials, schools, police, business owners, nonprofits and private developers are all brought to the table. Referred to as a “Transformation Plan”, this process is required by HUD in order to receive Choice Neighborhood Implementation grant funding.

Presently, HUD is making available through its recent Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) $76,000,000 for Choice Neighborhood Programs FY 2015. Grant types include both planning and implementation grants. The planning grants assist communities in developing a successful Transformation Plan as well as build the support necessary for that plan to be successfully implemented. The implementation grants support those communities that have undergone this comprehensive local planning process and are ready to implement their Transformation Plan to redevelop a neighborhood.

The planning and implementation grants allow communities to tackle a broader spectrum of issues that may contribute to distressed housing. Examples include access to employment opportunities, commercial revitalization, improved education facilities and enhanced transportation services. Choice Neighborhoods emphasize three key goals:

  1. 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;
  2. People: Improve educational outcomes and intergenerational mobility for youth with services and support delivered directly to youth and their families; and
  3. 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 a family’s choices about their community.

A match of at least 5 percent of the grant amount is required for all applicants. Applications must be submitted electronically through on or before February 9, 2015. Eligible applicants include Public Housing Authorities (PHAs), local governments and for-profit, nonprofit and tribal entities. A unit of local government must be either the Lead Applicant or the Co-Applicant in all applications.

To download this NOFA, please visit:

Published January 2015.

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