HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 15-004
Gloria Shanahan
(305) 520-5030
For Release
January 16, 2015

Partners will develop transformation plans for Three Mile Trace and Birdville

BIRMINGHAM, AL - Building on a commitment to help local communities redevelop distressed public or assisted housing and transform neighborhoods, U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro announced seven new Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant awards, including two for Mobile: $375,000 for the Three Mile Trace neighborhood, and $757,500 for Thomas James Place, also known as Birdville. These awards will help grantees craft comprehensive, locally driven plans to revitalize and transform distressed neighborhoods. Part of the Obama Administration's effort to build Ladders of Opportunity to the middle class, HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative promotes a comprehensive approach to transforming neighborhoods struggling to address the interconnected challenges of distressed housing, inadequate schools, poor health, high crime, and lack of capital.

Secretary Castro made the announcement at the Louisville Metro Housing Authority, one of the grantees that will use the funding to improve the Russell neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky.

"These Choice Neighborhood grants will spark the creation of community plans for progress," said Castro. "We look forward to working with local leaders to breathe new life into struggling neighborhoods, transforming them into places where residents can flourish and dreams can thrive."

HUD is awarding $375,000 to the Mobile Housing Board, which along with the City of Mobile and the Mobile Area Education Foundation, will use the Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant to develop a community-driven Transformation Plan that will revitalize the Three Mile Trace neighborhood and Roger Williams Homes, a 453-unit public housing development. Built in 1954, Roger Williams Homes is severely distressed, with many of the units located within a flood zone. The neighborhood, Three Mile Trace, also has several additional distressed properties and a long-term vacancy rate of 24 percent, almost 4 times as high as the surrounding county.

Amidst these challenges, Three Mile Trace also has several opportunities for growth. The neighborhood contains the historic community of AfricaTown, and there is an ongoing effort to preserve African memories, culture, and community. Bishop State Community College and several major medical institutions are located nearby. The University of South Alabama's Women's and Children's Hospital, located across the street from the neighborhood's southern boundary, recently completed a multi-million construction project that can help attract additional private investment. The City of Mobile is also preparing a multi-million dollar redevelopment plan for the larger downtown area, which includes the Three Mile Trace Neighborhood.

HUD is also awarding $457,500 to the Mobile Housing Board to work with the City of Mobile and other key partners to create an inclusive planning process that will ensure that current residents of Thomas James Place will benefit from the investments being made to area.

Thomas James Place is a 70 year old, severely distressed, 796-unit public housing development sitting on over 250 acres in the south side of Mobile. The neighborhood currently has a poverty rate of 55 percent. However, the logistical and manufacturing benefits of a former air base in the vicinity attracted Airbus, a world leader in aircraft manufacturing that in in 2013 broke ground on a $600 million assembly plant. Upon completion, the facility is expected to employ 1,000 workers, and Airbus suppliers are expected to create an additional 3,000 to 4,000 jobs. In response, the Alabama Industrial Development Training, a state-sponsored workforce training facility, recently opened a new $7 million aviation training center located in the Brookley Industrial Park.

Read local summaries of the grants announced today.

Choice Neighborhoods is HUD's signature place-based initiative and its vision builds on the work that has been done by the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, an interagency partnership between HUD, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and Treasury, since 2009. Choice Neighborhoods also supports the Ladders of Opportunity plan, which will help community partners rebuild neighborhoods, expand early learning opportunities, create pathways to jobs, and strengthen families. Choice Neighborhoods is focused on three core goals:

  • Housing: Replace distressed public and assisted housing with high-quality mixed-income housing that is well-managed and responsive to the needs of the surrounding neighborhood.
  • People: Improve educational outcomes and intergenerational mobility for youth with services and supports delivered directly to youth and their families.
  • Neighborhood: Create the conditions necessary for public and private reinvestment in distressed neighborhoods to offer the kinds of amenities and assets, including safety, good schools, and commercial activity, that are important to families' choices about their community.

HUD's commitment to teamwork means local residents and leaders are leading the way in revitalizing their communities. In order to develop a plan that meets the core goals of Choice neighborhoods, broad civic engagement will be needed. Local leaders, residents, and stakeholders, such as public housing authorities, cities, schools, police, business owners, nonprofits, and private developers come together to create a plan that transforms distressed HUD housing and addresses the challenges in the surrounding neighborhood. This Transformation Plan is the guiding document for the revitalization of the public and/or assisted housing units, while simultaneously directing the transformation of the surrounding neighborhood and positive outcomes for families.


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 and You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.


Content Archived: February 14, 2017