HUD Region VIII Quarterly Newsletter
In This Issue
• National Report • HUD FY2014 Budget • Fair Housing Month • Multifamily Radon Guidance • Continuum of Care Funding • Mortgage Insurance Premium • News You Can Use • Office of Native American Programs • Around the Region • Colorado • Montana • North Dakota • South Dakota • Utah • Wyoming •
Creating Sustainable Communities: A Global Impact
Metropolitan economies in the western U.S. are leading a recovery and have become a major global exporter of services. The top ranked metro areas in the mountain west all have made population gains despite the downturn and most are showing modest employment increases. Although not all these metros are in Region 8, all do possess certain common attributes such as enhanced transportation, encouraging entrepreneurship and building vibrant places for their residents to live.
Recently I participated as an organizer and attended the Rocky Mountain West Urban Leadership Symposium which convened in Denver. This one-day event included presentations, panels and examples of "city building" successes throughout the inter-mountain west. This annual symposium's goal is to bring together private developers, CEOs, architects, city planners, and local elected officials to learn more about the big ideas that are reshaping western cities.
Although there were many take-aways from the presenters that buoyed and supported HUD's Regional Sustainable Communities Initiative, one uniform message resonated for me which was made by the mayors of three western cities, Denver, Salt Lake and Boise; how essential it is to work as one regional entity to ensure success in an increasingly global economy.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock reinforced this message with acknowledging that the United Airlines decision to launch daily non-stops from DIA to Tokyo absolutely considered a broader market analysis of passengers from Montana, Utah and Arizona.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker said the western region working together can leverage all its unique resources to compete on a global stage. And Boise Mayor David Bieter connected the region's attraction of foreign students to universities and colleges who later work in local technology industries that export worldwide.
Brookings Mountain West Director, Dr. Robert Lang, of the University of Nevada Las Vegas used data to show how western regional economies have started to emerge from the downturn and how service exports are dominating employment growth. For example, Dr. Lang compared U.S. exports as a whole to show how western metros outpace the nation in selling financial, business, travel and tourism services to customers in the U.K., Canada, China and Japan to name only a few. In addition, the region's airports are among the busiest in the nation and are growing direct international flights and connections.
Regional collaboration seems to be the strength and new competitive advantage for how western cities are diversifying economies. If local leaders recognize the power of regional thinking to foster jobs, attract and train a millennial workforce, then federal agencies leaders too must react with resources and realign traditional programs. HUD's federal Sustainable Communities partnership with DOT and EPA and the planning grant awarded to date is yet one example of how western metros like Salt Lake City, Albuquerque, Las Vegas and Denver are rethinking economic development and housing strategies for a resilient and more sustainable economic future.
Rick M. Garcia
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan has released details of the Obama Administration's proposed Fiscal Year 2014 HUD Budget, a plan that seeks to protect the rental housing and homeless assistance for millions of extremely poor Americans while increasing investments in key initiatives to serve some of the nation's most distressed neighborhoods. Read HUD's proposed FY 2014 budget.
HUD's proposed 2014 budget provides $47.6 billion, an increase of $3.2 billion or 7.3 percent above the 2012 enacted level. More than 90 percent of this funding increase is used to maintain current levels of rental and homelessness assistance for vulnerable families, the overwhelming majority of whom earn less than 30 percent of their area's median income. The Budget also makes investments to revitalize high-poverty neighborhoods, reduce blight in communities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, and support sustainable economic development. Savings are achieved through reduced funding for new affordable housing construction and reforms to the Department's rental assistance programs that do not reduce the number of families served.
HUD's budget is built on a number of principles outlined in the President's State of the Union address:
This spring, FHEO celebrates the one year anniversary of HUD'S "Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs for All Persons regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity" Rule, commonly referred to as the LBGT Rule. The LGBT Rule became effective on March 2, 2012. The Rule:
Requires entities assisted by HUD or insured by FHA to make housing available without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status;
Clarifies that the definition of "family" and "household," which identifies who is eligible for HUD's core programs, includes persons regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status;
Prohibits HUD-assisted and HUD-insured entities from inquiring about an applicant's or occupant's sexual orientation or gender identity for the purpose of determining eligibility or otherwise making housing available;
Prohibits FHA-approved lenders from basing eligibility determinations for FHA-insured loans on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
FHEO will host a community event, "LGBT 101 & Equal Access Rule Training" on April 26, 2013, from 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. This public event is designed to foster understanding of laws that protect LGBT individuals and their families from housing discrimination. Representatives from the GLBT Community Center of Colorado, Colorado Civil Rights Division, the Denver Anti-Discrimination Office, and HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity will provide training and information about resources designed to protect against and remedy housing discrimination experienced by LGBT individuals and their families. The event will be held at the Dept. of Housing & Urban Development located in the UMB Bank Building, 1670 Broadway, Denver, CO. For more information, please contact Amy.N.Gioletti@hud.gov.
HUD has taken significant steps towards eliminating radon exposure in renter-occupied homes by issuing two new policies that will incorporate radon testing and mitigation into HUD programs to help prevent some of the estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths radon causes in the United States every year.
HUD's Office of Multifamily Housing new policy requires radon testing and, if applicable, mitigation for most new FHA-insured construction, conversion and substantial rehabilitation projects, as well as most FHA-insured refinance transactions. Radon testing and mitigation is not required for refinance projects located in low risk areas, or if a certified Radon Professional determines that radon risk is sufficiently low for the project.
Radon is a priority of the Federal Radon Action Plan, developed by a federal government interagency team chaired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The notice, published by HUD's Office of Public and Indian Housing, informs Public Housing Agencies about the risks from radon exposure, and points out that the best way to mitigate radon is to prevent it from ever entering a building. The Notice strongly encourages Public Housing Agencies to proactively plan and complete radon testing and mitigation.
For more information on the Multifamily radon policy, please visit the HUD website.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan recently renewed support for 7,000 local homeless housing and service programs across the U.S. Provided through HUD's Continuum of Care Program, the funding will ensure these local projects remain operating in the coming year. This year, HUD challenged local communities to reexamine their response to homelessness and give greater weight to proven strategies, from providing 'rapid re-housing' for homeless families to permanent supportive housing for those experiencing chronic homelessness.
In Region VIII
The $1.5 billion in grants announced will support a wide range of programs including street outreach, client assessment, and direct housing assistance. Later this year, HUD will award additional grant funding to support hundreds of other local programs. View a complete list of all the state and local homeless projects awarded funding at www.hud.gov
In accordance with Mortgagee Letter 2013-04, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) provided guidance to all approved Mortgagees that the Annual Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) would increase between 5 to10 basis points for mortgages with case number assignments issued on or after April 1st, 2013. Exceptions to the increased MIP are streamline refinance transactions of existing FHA loans endorsed on or before May 31, 2009, Title I, Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), Section 247 (Hawaiian Homelands) and Section 248 (Indian Reservations). These changes are consistent with FHA's ongoing efforts to strengthen the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund.
Secretary's Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships - Housing and Community Development in Action
HUD, in partnership with the Council on Foundations, announced the annual Secretary's Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships - Housing and Community Development in Action - as part of the Council's annual Fall Conference. The Secretary's Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships recognizes excellence in partnerships that have both transformed the relationship between the sectors and led to measurable benefits in terms of increased economic employment, health, safety, education, sustainability, inclusivity and cultural opportunities, and/or housing access for low- and moderate-income families. This award emphasizes cross-sector partnerships between the philanthropic and public sectors. Recognizing that foundations of all sizes partner with public agencies, the jury will take asset and staff size into consideration to ensure that the award recipients reflect a diversity of foundations. The fillable PDF form will be available beginning March 18, at www.cof.org/ and www.huduser.org/secaward/cof. The deadline for completing submission is 11:59 p.m. PT, April 29.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced that beginning July 1, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will require their servicers to "to offer eligible borrowers who are at least 90 days delinquent on their mortgage an easy way to lower their monthly payments and modify their mortgage without requiring financial or hardship documentation." Eligible homeowners whose mortgages are owned or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie will need to demonstrate their "willingness and ability" to make three consecutive on-time payments after which their mortgages will be permanently modified.
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research has released the U.S. Housing Market Conditions Report for the fourth quarter of 2012. The report provides updated information for the country on housing construction, marketing, affordability, homeownership, foreclosures, and multifamily housing performance. Profiles of regional activity, selected housing markets, and updates of historical trends in national and regional markets are presented.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Powersaver Home Energy Retrofit Pilot has been extended. FHA insurance will continue to be available through May 4, 2015 for loans to homeowners to finance energy-saving alterations, repairs and improvements in existing structures or manufactured homes. Contact Patricia McBarron, HUD, 202-708-2121.
The Obama Administration's progress in environmental justice was highlighted in a blog post late March written by EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe and White House Council on Environment Quality Chair Nancy Sutley. HUD is a core part of the Administration's efforts. Read more about HUD's progress toward achieving environmental justice in our most recent Implementation Progress Report for the Department's Environmental Justice Strategy. HUD has announced availability of funding in support of Fair Housing. Applications for three grant programs are due June 11, 2013. Funding is contingent upon future Congressional action. See here for more information. Two bonus points will be awarded for applicants with Preferred Sustainability Status.
Affordable Green: Renewing the Federal Commitment to Energy Efficient, Affordable Housing. This Report to Congress provides an update on HUD's investments in energy efficiency and green building in FY2009-2011, and highlights significant progress made in meeting HUD's two-year Annual Performance Goal of 159,000 energy efficient or green units.
Join an EPA Webinar on how communities are using equitable development and smart growth strategies to create neighborhoods that are healthy, sustainable, and inclusive. No pre-registration is required for the Webinar which will be held April 9 from 2-3:00 p.m. Eastern. To join, click on https://epa.connectsolutions.com/epasmartgrowth. You may enter as a guest.
Oglala Sioux Lakota Housing Opens New Administrative Building - Paul Iron Cloud, Chief Executive Officer of the Oglala Sioux Lakota Housing (OSLH), had the pleasure of hosting the grand opening of OSLH's new Johnson Holy Rock Administrative Building on the Pine Ridge Reservation with Congressional, HUD and its own staff and community on August 24, 2012. The HUD staff in attendance included Sandra Henriquez, Assistant Secretary, Public and Indian Housing, and her Special Assistant Jennifer Jones, Rodger Boyd, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Native American Programs (ONAP), and Randy Akers, Administrator, and Mike Boyd, Director, of the Northern Plains ONAP. A representative from Congressman Tim Johnson's staff also attended.
The new building was named after Johnson Holy Rock who served as Tribal Chairman of the Oglala Sioux Tribe from 1960-1963. He was a strong advocate for housing and was instrumental in getting housing for Oglala Sioux Tribal members. In 1961 he met with President John F. Kennedy, when the creation of the Oglala Sioux Housing Authority was announced. This was the first public housing project in the nation for Native Americans.
The OSLH's original office building was built in 1977 and was 4,500 square feet. The housing staff soon outgrew the building, so a frame 2,000 square foot addition was built on to the original building. In the 80's, housing outgrew its space again so the Housing Authority purchased a trailer home. The building was placed across the street from the main office to house the Development Department.
With the help of Rural Development, a 40-year $3.1 million loan was obtained that allowed housing to purchase land and begin development of a modern building. Funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was used for preliminary architectural and engineering design. The firm that designed the building is owned by a Native American woman, Tami Eagle Bull of Encompass Architects.
The new building has two levels and contains over 20,000 square feet. The upper level houses the Administration Department, tenant service representatives, and a large and several small conference rooms. The building includes a kitchen and is WIFI enabled. The lower level is the location for the Maintenance, Development and Finance Departments and includes a secure entry and a vault area. This space has room for improvements and expansion.
Some of the building amenities include a drive-up window so residents may make housing payments from their vehicles, an elevator that makes the lower floor accessible and assists in moving materials from floor-to floor. Energy efficient measures include an air to air energy recovery system and electrical indoor occupancy sensors. The staff is pleased to be located in one building all together, which provides for an efficient workplace.
The beauty of the building with its majestic windows overlooking an open rolling plain will be a treasure for years to come.
Visit the Office of Native American Programs at www.hud.gov to learn more.
Colorado Healthy Homes: A Call to Action
On Thursday, March 7th leaders from both the health and housing industries gathered at the Rita Bass Trauma & EMS Education Institute. The location was fitting, as panelists from HUD, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and several others, discussed the critical connection between health and housing.
This Colorado Healthy Homes Call to Action was a direct response to the recent national publication of HUD's Advancing Healthy Housing - A Strategy for Action. The Action plan calls on federal, state, and local partners to explore ways to educate the public on how contaminants in the home can have a direct impact on residents' health. It also calls for more proactive mitigation of toxins such as radon and lead.
Among many of the topics covered during the event, subject matter experts discussed radon testing and mitigation, lead exposure, indoor air quality and its relationship to asthma symptoms, and injury prevention. HUD Rocky Mountain Regional Administrator, Rick M. Garcia said, "Advancing healthy housing is one of our top priorities. For too long, low-income families, especially children and the elderly have suffered disproportionately from substandard housing. Our mission is to change that statistic through education and prevention."
Quality housing and its correlation to preventable illnesses was examined at several levels. HUD Healthy Homes representative Abby Hugill also explained the seven principles of a healthy home. "We define healthy homes as homes which are dry, clean, safe, pest-free, contaminant-free, well ventilated, and well maintained." Learn more about reducing toxins and creating a safer home environment for you and your family at www.healthyhomes.hud.gov
Colorado to Receive $17.5 Million in Federal Assistance for Wildfire Relief
Congress in March cleared the way for Colorado to get $17.5 million in federal assistance to finish urgent restoration work in watersheds set ablaze by last summer's High Park and Waldo Canyon wildfires.
The House voted 318-109 to give final approval to a spending bill that provides $65.5 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection program, or EWP, which is run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Colorado's pending projects total nearly $23 million in the Fort Collins and Colorado Springs regions, of which the federal share is $17.5 million, federal documents show. Federal rules require state and local authorities to come up with the remaining $5.5 million.
Apr. 19 - Housing Colorado "The New Normal: Development in a Changing Market" sponsored By FCI Constructors, Inc. 3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Program - Mile High United Way - Founders Room, 2505 18th Street, Denver, CO 8021.
May 7 - Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST Training - Denver, CO - Colorado Division of Housing is hosting a FREE day of training from 8:00 a.m. - 4:15 p.m. at the PPA Event Center. The training will cover Fair Housing act accessibility requirements, disability rights laws, fair housing enforcement and making housing accessible through accommodations and modifications.
May 24 - Housing Colorado Brown Bag Lunch Event - "Start Solid, Finish Smart: Upfront Financing Options and Year 15 Issues" - focusing on affordable housing development, crucial year 15 stress reduction, advice and insights along with LIHTC Options and Alternatives. 12p.m. to 1:30p.m. Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver, Administrative Office.
Jun. 21 - Housing Colorado 2012 FORUM Series + Site Visit- "Denver's South Lincoln Redevelopment - Mariposa: A Study in Sustainable Success" 3-4:30 p.m. Presentation and Tour.
Montana Receives $2 Million for Rental Assistance Demonstration Program
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan recently awarded $2,580,006 to renew support for 20 local homeless housing and service programs in Montana. Provided through HUD's Continuum of Care programs, the funding announced today will ensure these HUD-assisted local homeless assistance programs remain operating in the coming year. Later this year, HUD will award additional grant funding to support hundreds of other local programs, including new projects. View a complete list of all the Montana homeless projects awarded funding.
HUD's Continuum of Care grants are awarded competitively to local projects to meet the needs of their homeless clients. The grants fund a wide variety of programs from street outreach and assessment programs to transitional and permanent housing for homeless persons and families. HUD funds are a critical part of the Obama Administration's strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness.
Apr. 23-24 - Montana Fair Housing Conference, Cooper King 4655 Harrison Avenue, Butte, Montana.
May 15-16 - Eastern Montana Energy Expo 2013, Dawson Community College in Glendive, MT For more information, call (406) 377-7792 or email email@example.com
May 21-23 - Montana Statewide Annual Housing Conference, Holiday Inn Downtown, 200 South Pattee, Missoula, MT.
North Dakota Receives $41 Million in Disaster Relief Funding
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan has allocated $41.6 million throughout the State of North Dakota to help local communities to recover from severe flooding in 2011. These grants, part of $514 million allocated among nine states nationwide, are provided through HUD's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program to support long-term disaster recovery efforts in areas with the greatest extent of 'unmet need.'
The State of North Dakota will receive $6,576,000 to assist areas affected from severe flooding in 2011. In addition, HUD is providing $35,056,000 directly to the City of Minot which was especially hard hit by the flooding and had the greatest extent of unmet needs in the state. The funding announced today supplements more than $79 million HUD allocated throughout North Dakota in January of 2012. Read the full report here.
U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp Tackles Western ND Housing Crisis
U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp in March kicked off a series of discussions around North Dakota focused on finding solutions to the state's housing crisis. Heitkamp's schedule included events in Bismarck, Minot, Williston, Valley City, and Fargo during the current Congressional District Work Period.
Senator Heitkamp is bringing together local leaders to join the discussion and develop a way to become more strategic in addressing the state's housing shortage. North Dakota's growing population has increased housing needs to critical levels.
Among the many leaders involved, HUD North Dakota Field Office Director, Joel Manske has also partnered with the Senator in tackling the state's housing crisis.
Heitkamp is a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Development Committee, which has jurisdiction over housing issues.
May 1 - Project Community Connect - The Fargo-Moorhead Coalition for Homeless People will conduct a Project (Homeless) Community Connect event from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the Fargo Dome in Fargo, ND. This is a one day semi-annual event designed to provide housing, dental, counseling, haircuts, hospitality and other services to people experiencing homelessness.
May 1 - 2nd Chance Career Fair - This is the second annual career fair in the Fargo area that is specifically designed to bring employers and the hard to employ together. Prospective employees consist of people with minor criminal background and those that are experiencing homelessness. The event will be held from 2:00-5:00 p.m. at the Fargo Dome.
May 1 - Veterans Stand Down - The local VA office will be conducting this event in conjunction the F-M homeless coalition. Some of the services provided are wellness exams, employment resources, shelter options and clothing assistance. The event will be held from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the Fargo Dome.
May 22 - Homelessness 201 Training - - The Fargo-Moorhead Coalition for Homeless People will conduct a follow-up training to Homelessness 101. Homelessness 201 is geared for people that have taken Homelessness 101 which is an introduction to homelessness. The training will be held from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at a local Fargo Church.
HUD's Financial Impact in South Dakota
Each year thousands of South Dakotan's are impacted by HUD's programs. In Fiscal Year 2012, over 3,000 homes were insured through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), valued at over $400 million. Over the past four years, FHA has insured nearly 15,000 homes, a combined total of over $2 billion. These transactions create and maintain jobs held by real estate agents, lenders, underwriters, appraisers, title processors, and home inspectors.
Jobs in the retail sector are also affected as new homeowners purchase furnishings for their homes. Many of these nearly 15,000 insured loans would not have been possible without FHA mortgage insurance.
HUD also provides over $70 million in rental assistance in South Dakota through the Public Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and Project Based housing assistance. Without this assistance, many of the families, several who are elderly or disabled, would not have a safe, decent place to live. The HUD-assisted programs also provide employment for landlords and managers.
Apr. 17 - Housing Education Seminar - Presented by South Dakota Field Office Director, Roger Jacobs and hosted by South Dakota Rural Housing Collaborative in Sioux Falls, SD.
Apr. 25 - Semi-annual Project Connect in Sioux Falls. Project Connect is a one-day one-stop shop event where homeless and low-income individuals and families can come and receive services or gather information on services.
May 1 - Housing For Veterans in Indian Country at the Veterans Symposium in Rapid City, SD
May 21 - Roundtable discussion "South Dakota Connections" with the Affordable Housing Management Association (AHMA). This is an event where affordable housing providers gather to discuss current trends and issues.
Construction Begins on Residences at Fairbourne Station
On March 21, 2013, Utah Field Office staff attended the groundbreaking for the Residences at Fairbourne Station in West Valley, Utah.
Construction of the residential building is the latest milestone in the city's revitalization area. The 225 unit apartment building will be constructed at 2900 West Lehman Avenue near the new Embassy Suites Hotel. Construction will be completed in fall 2014.
HUD is supporting the development of the market rate housing by insuring the mortgage loan. The new upscale apartments will be Energy Star rated and will offer a maintenance-free, resort-like lifestyle. The units will include walk-in closets, composite wood plank floors, granite countertops, oversized windows and vaulted ceilings.
Fairbourne Station will be a desirable location that is easily accessible, with the establishment of one of the few truly intermodal transit stations in the Intermountain West. Incorporating light rail, bus rapid transit system and traditional bus service all in one location. The new center will allow visitors, residents and workers a variety of options for going to and from Fairbourne.
Apr. 17 - Apartment Association and Fair Housing Conference at the South Towne Expo Center, 9575 South State Street, Sandy, UT
Apr. 18 - HUD Fair Housing Training Seminar for Regional Leasing Agents at Bach Property Management, 11650 South State St., Ste. 300 Draper, UT 84020
Apr. 18 - Utah Anti-Discrimination Labor Division Fair Housing Training for Housing Providers, 160 East 300 South, 3rd Floor. Salt Lake City, UT
May 27 - Memorial Day Valor House event will be held on the VA Campus in Salt Lake City at 11:00 a.m.
May 29 - Wasatch Choice 2040 Consortium will host its community forum at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City from 2:00-5:00p.m. HUD, DOT, and EPA Federal Partnership staff will participate in the event.
Wyoming Housing Network Addresses Housing Needs in Torrington
The Wyoming Housing Network, Inc. (WHN) was conceived through a collaborative statewide planning process and incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in January 2005 to address the affordable housing need. Based in Casper, WHN is a Community Housing Development Organization that educates homebuyers and homeowners and works with partners to create and preserve affordable housing in Wyoming. WHN's capacity to accomplish its mission is expanded as an Affiliate of NeighborWorks® America, a national nonprofit network that provides financial and technical support to its partners.
The January 2010 opening of the Department of Corrections Medium Security Prison added to Torrington's shortage of affordable housing units. To address this housing shortage, Wyoming Housing Network, Inc. (WHN) developed 32 units of new affordable rental housing with Low Income Housing Tax Credit and $1,020,829 HUD HOME financing through the Wyoming Community Development Authority (WCDA). Construction was completed in January 2013. Northwest Real Estate Capital performs property management services under contract with WHN.
Apr. 21-23 - The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) will host their annual conference in Casper, WY.
HUD Launches First Fair Housing App!
HUD has unveiled the first housing discrimination mobile application (app) for iPhone and iPad. Developed by HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) and Hewlett Packard (HP), the app uses the latest technology to provide the public with a quick and easy way to learn about their housing rights and to file housing discrimination complaints, and inform the housing industry about its responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act. The app provides information about the fair housing complaint process, and allows the public to access HUD's toll-free discrimination hotline and link to HUD's fair housing website: www.hud.gov/fairhousing
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Grantee Spotlight - Denver Regional Council of Governments
In a coordinated effort with 86 partners, the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) is moving ahead on its $4.5-million Sustainable Communities Partnership grant from HUD. The three-year grant helps the region make its $6.7-billion investment in the FasTracks transit system go even further, supporting DRCOG's goal to make life better in the Denver region for people of all ages, incomes and abilities.
Known as the Sustainable Communities Initiative, or SCI, the effort brings together a consortium of municipalities, counties, state agencies, housing authorities, nonprofits, businesses, philanthropic and academic organizations. Guided by Metro Vision, the Denver metro area's long-range plan for growth and development, SCI's primary goal is to align investments, programs and policies to maximize the benefits from FasTracks.
The grant's desired benefits reflect the federal livability principles incorporated in Metro Vision. They include:
SCI is conducting regional, corridor and site-level planning and implementation activities. Engaging stakeholders, conducting case studies of best practices and sharing knowledge are key grant components too. The focus is on three corridors currently under construction. Detailed implementation strategies developed for each will promote comprehensive and holistic thinking about opportunities and challenges. Each corridor will select a station area with the greatest potential to spur development and conduct pre-development work. Additionally, the transit system's West Line, set to open in late April, has identified a fourth catalytic project with final selection of firms to do that work.
Activities on the grant have really started gearing up. Progress to date includes establishing technical and citizen advisory committees to support both regional and corridor work, and conducting corridor outreach and engagement, including participation from traditionally underrepresented communities. To learn more, please visit www.drcog.org/SCI
|Content Archived: February 20, 2015|