A detail from St. Charles Parish, Lousiana’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan. St. Charles Parish is one of the communities selected to receive one of HUD’s 2011 Sustainable Communities Grants, announced today. Photo from the St. Charles Parish of Planning and Zoning.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today its 2011 Sustainable Communities Grants, which aim to improve the economic competitiveness of communities by linking housing with good jobs, quality schools, and transportation. The grants are part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which helps urban, suburban and rural communities create jobs and improve housing, transportation, and the economy.
The grants announced today will invest $96 million in 27 communities for Community Challenge grants and 29 areas for Regional Planning grants. Community Challenge Grants help reform and reduce barriers to achieving affordable, economically vital and sustainable communities. Regional Planning Grants encourage grantees to support regional planning efforts that integrate housing, land-use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure developments to empowers regions to consider how all of these factors work together to create more jobs and economic opportunities.
“Our nation’s ability to compete in a global economy and create jobs is dependent upon how quickly and efficiently we can connect our workers and families to education and employment opportunities,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a statement. “This year we are especially proud that we had a particular focus on funding proposals that included more chambers of commerce and economic development corporations as core partners. These grants will be leveraged with local funds more than doubling the investment and, helping to create new visions for how communities and regions plan for housing, transportation, workforce development and the quality of life of their residents for generations to come.”
The $96 million investment will help communities spur additional funding and investment, including $115 million in matching and in-kind contributions – over 120% of the original federal investment – from the 56 selected grantees. That brings the total public and private investment for this round of grants to over $211 million.
Demand is high for these popular grants. Overall, 468 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico applied for funding that totaled more than $500 million. Because of the limited funds available, however, only 1 in 8 applicants will receive desired support to build sustainable communities that improve the economy and increase jobs. Smart Growth America strongly supports the Partnership programs and the support they provide to communities across the country.