Obama Administration Stresses Early Childhood Education in 2009 HOPE VI Program
WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced the availability of $113 million in HOPE VI funding in a keynote address on the future of urban revitalization at the National Press Club during the Brookings Institution’s event, "From Despair to Hope: Two HUD Secretaries on Urban Revitalization and Opportunity." Donovan joined former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros in a comprehensive discussion about the HOPE VI revitalization program and the Obama Administration’s proposed Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, which seeks to build on the lessons from HOPE VI and expand urban revitalization beyond public housing. The full text of Donovan’s speech is available online.
"The HOPE VI Program has improved the conditions of low-income communities across this nation," said Donovan. "However, HOPE VI was developed in response to the concentrated poverty that resulted not in spite of government housing policy in the twentieth century – but often because of it. Now is the time for us to take the lessons learned from HOPE VI, build on the accomplishments, and broaden the scope of the program for broader impact. Today’s funding announcement is the first step toward this new comprehensive approach, because for the first time, we are encouraging housing authorities to incorporate early childhood education components into the HOPE VI planning process."
Donovan announced that HUD will award additional points to public housing authorities (PHA) that incorporate early childhood education into their applications for HOPE VI funding. HOPE VI grants aim not only to redevelop the physical location of a community, but also to positively impact the lives of the residents. In addition to the family economic self-sufficiency-based Community and Supportive Services (CSS) program, points will be given to applicants (a maximum of 5 points) who demonstrate the commitment to implement and/or form a significant partnership with an institution that implements a comprehensive, high-quality, results-oriented early childhood education program that utilizes best practices. Points will also be awarded for factors related to green development and energy efficiency strategies.
Donovan introduced the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative in HUD’s FY2010 budget proposal in May 2009. The FY2010 budget HUD requests $250 million for a Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, $130 million over the level appropriated for HOPE VI in fiscal year 2009. The initiative would challenge public, private and nonprofit partners to extend neighborhood transformation efforts beyond public housing and link housing interventions more closely with school reform and early childhood innovation.
"Choice Neighborhoods will continue the effort we are starting with today’s announcement," Donovan continued. "We want to continue and expand on the progress made under HOPE VI, to alleviate the intense concentration of poverty in many urban neighborhoods. Such concentration undermines the promise of affordable housing to serve as a platform for individual advancement and community revitalization."
There have been 248 HOPE VI Revitalization grants awarded to 130 housing authorities since 1993 – totaling $6 billion. These grants have transformed severely distressed public housing developments to mixed-income communities. Revitalization grant funds are used for an array of activities, including: demolition of severely distressed public housing; acquisition of sites for off-site construction; capital costs of major rehabilitation, new construction and other physical improvements; and community and supportive service programs for residents, including those relocated as a result of revitalization efforts.
HUD will pay relocation costs for residents whose apartments are being demolished. Relocated residents in good standing will be given an opportunity to move back to the newly constructed units at the site, or will be given Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) that will subsidize their rents in privately owned apartments if they choose not to return to public housing.
The 2009 HOPE VI Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) can be accessed at www.grants.gov. PHAs have until November 17th, 2009 to compete for the Revitalization grants. The maximum grant award is $22 million. It is anticipated that five to six grant awards will be made.
Applicants must refer to the 2009 General Section for important application information and requirements, including submission requirements, which changed for 2009. In FY2009, HUD is continuing its requirement that applicants submit their applications electronically through www.grants.gov.