In an unprecedented collaboration between two federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently jointly awarded $878,000 to help stimulate a new generation of sustainable and livable communities in Oklahoma, connect housing, employment and economic development with transportation and other infrastructure improvements. The joint HUD-DOT funding will support 62 local and regional partnerships seeking to create a more holistic and integrated approach to connecting affordable housing, job opportunities and transportation corridors.
“Today two federal agencies come together to produce a win-win for local communities around the country,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “We’re helping local and regional planners connect all the dots in their efforts to make their communities more sustainable and livable. These grants will help communities to hit on all cylinders, producing more affordable housing near good jobs and commercial centers which will help to reduce our energy consumption and increase competitiveness.”
DOT Secretary Ray LaHood said, “With the investments HUD and DOT are making today, we are strengthening neighborhoods by connecting housing with affordable and sustainable transportation choices. This is a win-win for people who live in these communities because they will have travel options to better serve them.”
HUD is awarding $40 million in new Sustainable Community Challenge Grants to help support local planning designed to integrate affordable housing, good jobs and public transportation. Meanwhile, DOT is awarding nearly $28 million in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) II Planning Grants to implement localized plans that ultimately lead to projects that integrate transportation, housing and economic development.
HUD is awarding the following grant to Oklahoma:
Oklahoma City will be awarded $500,000 to develop "planokc" – a comprehensive plan to address its unsustainable development pattern of the past 30 years. Planokc will outline strategies to strengthen the city’s economy, striving to reverse the recent trend of manufacturing employment out-migration, identify critical needs and opportunities, and provide guidance for efforts related to land assembly, infrastructure improvements, and recruitment.
It will also preserve the city’s history and character and enhance community appearance by promoting high quality design in development, strengthening special districts and neighborhoods. The Plan will contain a future land use plan intended to direct the location, type, intensity and form of various types of development patterns that respect the characteristics of a particular geographic area, with the goal of achieving efficient and sustainable growth. Oklahoma City will engage the public and integrate their input into a draft plan.
HUD’s Sustainable Communities Challenge Grants will foster reform and reduce barriers to achieving affordable, economically vital and sustainable communities. These funds will be used by communities, large and small, to address local challenges to integrating transportation and housing. When these activities are done in conjunction with transportation projects, they can greatly increase the efficiency and access of local transportation while encouraging mixed-use or transit-oriented development. Such efforts may include amending or updating local master plans, zoning codes, and building codes to support private sector investment in mixed-use development, affordable housing and the re-use of older buildings. Other local efforts may include retrofitting main streets to provide safer routes for children and seniors, or preserving affordable housing and local businesses near new transit stations.
TIGER II Planning Grants will prepare or design surface transportation projects that would be eligible for funding under the TIGER II Discretionary Grant program. These projects include highways, bridges, transit, railways, ports or bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
Rather than require applicants to navigate two separate grant application procedures that might be on different timelines and with different requirements, HUD and DOT joined their two new discretionary planning programs to create one point of entry to federal resources for local, innovative sustainable community planning projects.
The Community Challenge grants compliment the 45 Sustainable Communities Regional Grants announced last week by HUD. The Challenge Grants help to support local communities seeking to integrate housing, transportation, and environmental strategies that will enhance local economic development, provide greater housing and transportation choices, and develop long-range visions for how they want their community to grow.
The new HUD-DOT program also builds on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, an innovative new interagency collaboration, launched by President Obama in June 2009, between the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Guided by six Livability Principles, the Partnership is designed to remove the traditional federal government silos that exist between departments and strategically target the agencies’ transportation, land use, environmental, housing and community development resources to provide communities the resources they need to build more livable, sustainable communities.
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.