HUD awards $500,000 choice neighborhood planning grant to Brownsville

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U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro today awarded $8 million to 10 severely distressed neighborhoods to stimulate affordable housing and economic development, including a $500,000 grant to the City of Brownsville for the Buena Vida neighborhood.  Funded through HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, these awards will help local leaders to craft comprehensive, homegrown plans to revitalize and transform their neighborhoods.

“No child should be limited in life by the zip code where they were born,” said Castro. “Today, we’re kick starting the revitalization in 10 distressed neighborhoods across the country. These grants will lay a firm foundation upon which we’ll build better, more thoughtful neighborhoods that are more connected to all the opportunities their communities have to offer.” 

Choice Neighborhoods is HUD’s signature place-based initiative and its vision builds on the work that has been done by the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, an interagency partnership between HUD, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and Treasury, since 2009. 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. 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.

Until now, Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant funds could only be used to create a neighborhood Transformation Plan.  However, experience with the 63 previously awarded Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grantees has shown that tangible, early actions help sustain community energy, attract new resources, and build momentum to turn that plan into reality.

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