HUD announces 2011 Sustainable Communities Grants awards

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.

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LOCUS steering committee members honored at ULI Terwillinger Center Awards Gala

The Urban Land Institute’s Terwillinger Center for Workforce Housing held its annual awards gala in September to recognize communities, real estate developers and policymakers in promoting workforce housing affordability. The Jonathan Rose Companies, led by LOCUS steering committee member Jonathan Rose, received the Jack Kemp Workforce Housing Model of Excellence award for their Tapestry development in East Harlem, New York. The award is given in honor of former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp in recognition of four developers who have used innovative financing and design strategies to build developments and offers units at both market rate and below-market rate for residents.

LOCUS Steering Committee member Eric Larson also attended the event to present the Robert C. Larson Workforce Housing Public Policy Award, which recognizes the commitment of a state or local government that is dedicated to the production, rehabilitation and preservation of workforce housing. New this year, the award is named in memory of Larson’s father, Bob Larson, a leading real estate developer and investor chair of the Resolution Trust Corporation and former ULI chairman. This year’s award recipient is the city of San Jose.

“My father believed that a keen sense of community would emerge when dedicated, smart people do the right thing. And public policy, with strong leadership, is key to the lasting quality of a community,” Larson said. “We are thrilled that San Jose is the first recipient of this award bearing my father’s name.”

LOCUS

HUD launches development of a national Housing and Transportation Affordability Index

Crossposted from our coalition partner Center for Neighborhood Technology.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) just announced that it has awarded a two-year contract to Manhattan Strategies Group (MSG) and subcontractor Center for Neighborhood Technology to create a national housing and transportation affordability index.

“Affordability is much more than just paying the mortgage, it involves other costs like transportation, gas, and utilities,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan in a press release. “The availability of a national affordability index will provide consumers better information about the true costs of a home by accounting for that housing’s proximity to jobs, schools and other services. Our goal with the creation of this housing and transportation index is to provide American families with a tool that can help them save money and have a better understanding of their expenses and household budget.”

As a subcontractor, CNT will use its years of experience in creating the Housing + Transportation (H+T®) Affordability Index (and Abogo®) to assist MSG and HUD in exploring how the agency can incorporate this sort of metric into its work.

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The Ford Foundation hosts Just City: a forum on metropolitan opportunity

Today in New York, The Ford Foundation is holding a 75th anniversary event to explore how fairness, opportunity and equity can serve as defining features in the development of megacities and metro regions this new era of urbanization. The event includes speakers working on all kinds of issues related to cities, including mayors, transportation experts, academics, artists, business leaders, journalists, governors and federal lawmakers.

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Secretaries LaHood, Donovan on public transportation and connecting to jobs

Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan spoke at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program and on today’s Huffington Post about a new report on how public transportation helps American workers connect to jobs.

“Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America,” is “a first-of-its-kind analysis that shows how transit systems link workers to jobs in metropolitan America.” The report emphasizes the importance of not just the location and frequency of transit service, but ultimately how well transit aligns with where people work and live. LaHood and Donovan explain that public transportation plays a crucial role in the American economy, and better coordination between federal agencies can yield even greater benefits from this important resource.

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