POSTED: Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 10:33am
UPDATED: Friday, January 17, 2014 - 8:01am
BROWNSVILLE, TX — , the Obama Administration announced it is expanding the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Initiative to include Brownsville, Texas; Flint, Mich; Gary, Indiana; Macon, Georgia; Rockford, Ill.; St. Louis, Missouri; and Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
President Obama established SC2 in 2011as an innovative and flexible program designed to strengthen local capacity, coordinate federal investments, and spark growth in economically distressed communities. The SC2 Initiative was developed through engagement with mayors, Members of Congress, foundations, nonprofits and other community partners who are committed to addressing the challenges facing local governments as they work to create economic opportunity for all residents.
Federal inter-agency expert teams will be deployed to work alongside city leadership, community organizations, local businesses and philanthropic foundations to support the cities’ visions for economic growth and development. The primary goal is to help these cities more effectively use existing resources, provide advice and expertise in support of local priorities, better align federal programs and investments, and facilitate new partnerships and peer learning opportunities wherever possible.
In addition, AmeriCorps VISTA members will aid this effort as on-the-ground liaisons with local leaders and citizens to help implement the solutions that meet these communities’ needs.
“During these tough fiscal times, it is vitally important that the Administration provides support to those cities in need,” stated HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “The support provided by the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative is helping local leaders maximize every dollar to spur economic growth, create jobs, and build stronger and safer communities.”
“Our community is eager to meet and work with the Community Solutions Team assigned to assist Brownsville with the development of a comprehensive plan focused on wellness, education and economic development,” said Antonio “Tony” Martinez, Mayor of Brownsville, Texas. “We are confident the assistance provided will facilitate a model for other cities across the nation.”
The SC2 Teams will aim to duplicate the record of success established in the original pilot cities: Chester, Pa; Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Fresno, Calif; Memphis, Tenn.; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Youngstown, Ohio. SC2 Teams enabled those communities to more effectively use more than $368 million in existing federal funds and investments. They also provided advice and expertise that have helped these communities make significant progress toward their priorities in economic development, housing, transportation, public safety, and public health, among other areas
For more information about the SC2 Teams’ involvement and goals for the new locations please visit http://www.huduser.org/portal/SC2/home.html . For more information about accomplishments of the initiative in the original pilot locations and policy insights that have surfaced as a result, please review the first SC2 Annual Report.