Two new federal opportunities to help communities build in better ways

san-antonio-txSan Antonio, TX’s Eastside neighborhood was one of the first five designated Promise Zones. Photo by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, via Flickr.

Two new opportunities from the federal government are now open to communities and states interested in growing in more strategic, economically resilient ways.

On September 17, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a new grant program to help communities rebuild and increase their resilience to future disasters. The National Disaster Resilience Competition will make available nearly $1 billion to support innovative resilience projects at the local level while encouraging communities to adopt policy changes and activities that plan for the impacts of extreme weather and climate change, as well as rebuild affected areas to be better prepared for the future. The opportunity is open to all communities that experienced a Presidentially declared major disaster in 2011, 2012 or 2013.

Then, on September 19, President Obama announced the opening of a new round of Promise Zones designations. The Promise Zones program brings together the federal government and local organizations in target communities to create jobs, leverage private investment, increase economic activity, expand educational opportunities, and reduce violent crime. This week’s announcement invites new communities to apply to be designated a Promise Zone.

In January the Administration designated the first five Promise Zones in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. For the second round, HUD intends to designate six urban communities and the Department of Agriculture intends to designate at least one rural and at least one tribal community. The White House will hold a series of webinars for each type of applicant.

Both of these programs are excellent opportunities for communities interested in supporting their long-term economic health through better development. Interested in learning more? Visit the federal websites about the National Disaster Resilience Competition and Promise Zones.