HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 12-26
Rhonda Siciliano
(617) 994-8355

For Release
October 11, 2012

17 entities nationwide receive grants to execute grassroots efforts to revitalize housing, communities

BOSTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that the Boston Housing Authority will receive $300,000 to execute grassroots efforts to revitalize the public housing at Whittier Street Apartments and transform the Whittier neighborhood. [see below for Boston grant info].

The Boston Housing Authority is one of 17 entities from across the U.S. receiving a Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant today. The funding provides these communities the resources they need to craft comprehensive, community-driven plans to revitalize public or other HUD-assisted housing and transform distressed neighborhoods.

"This funding will enable the Housing Authority of the City of Columbia to take its initial discussions with local partners further to plan out strategies to build a stronger, more sustainable community that will address distressed housing, failing schools, rampant crime in this housing and community," said Ed Jennings, Jr., HUD Southeast Regional Administrator, "HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative represents the next generation in a movement toward revitalizing entire neighborhoods to improve the lives of the residents who live there."

HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative promotes a comprehensive approach to transforming distressed areas of concentrated poverty into viable and sustainable mixed-income neighborhoods. Building on the successes of HUD's HOPE VI Program, Choice Neighborhoods links housing improvements with necessary services for the people who live there - including schools, public transit and employment opportunities.

The awardees announced today were selected from among 72 applications. Successful applicants demonstrated their intent to plan for the transformation of neighborhoods by revitalizing severely distressed public and/or assisted housing while leveraging investments to create high-quality public schools, outstanding education and early learning programs, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs and well-functioning services. HUD focused on directing resources to address three core goals:

  • Housing: Transform distressed public and assisted housing into energy efficient, mixed-income housing that is physically and financially viable over the long-term;
  • People: Support positive outcomes for families who live in the target development(s) and the surrounding neighborhood, particularly outcomes related to residents' health, safety, employment, mobility, and education; and
  • Neighborhood: Transform neighborhoods of poverty into viable, mixed-income neighborhoods with access to well-functioning services, high quality public schools and education programs, high quality early learning programs and services, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs.

The grantees will use the funding to work with local stakeholders - public and/or assisted housing residents, community members, businesses, institutions and local government officials - to undertake a successful neighborhood transformation to create a "choice neighborhood." The awardees will use the funding to create a comprehensive Transformation Plan, or road map, to transforming distressed public and/or assisted housing within a distressed community.

Choice Neighborhoods is one of the signature programs of the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (, which supports innovative, holistic strategies that bring public and private partners together to help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. Choice Neighborhoods encourages collaboration between HUD and the Departments of Education, Justice, Treasury and Health and Human Services to support local solutions for sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods with the affordable housing, safe streets and good schools all families need.

Congress approved the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative with the passage of HUD's FY2010 budget. Funding is provided through two separate programs - Implementation Grants and Planning Grants. With this announcement, HUD has awarded a total of $12.55 million in Planning Grants to 46 cities or counties.

Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants are awarded to entities that have completed a comprehensive local planning process and are ready to move forward with their Transformation Plan to redevelop their target housing and neighborhoods. In August, HUD announced the nine finalists that will compete for approximately $110 million in 2012 Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants to transform public and other HUD-assisted housing in targeted neighborhoods. Teams recently completed site visits as part of the application review process to determine which of the finalists will receive Implementation grants.

Last year, HUD awarded its first CN Implementation grants for Chicago, Boston, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle, a combined $122.27 million investment to bring comprehensive neighborhood revitalization to blighted areas in these cities.


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 asa 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.



[Map of Boston, MA]

Boston, MA

Choice Neighborhoods Grantee: Boston Housing Authority
Target Public Housing Project: Whittier Street Apartments
Target Neighborhood: Whittier Neighborhood
Choice Neighborhood Grant Amount: $300,000

Key Partners:
City of Boston, Boston Public Schools, Associated Early Care and Education, the Whittier Street Health Center, the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Northeastern University, Roxbury Community College, Wentworth Institute, and the Opportunity Consortium including local community development groups and two major local foundations.

Project Summary:
The Whittier neighborhood is located at the northern end of Boston's Roxbury community. The neighborhood's households are some of the poorest in the city with a poverty and crime rate twice that of the city. The Whittier Street public housing development is one of Boston Housing Authority's oldest and most distressed sites with antiquated systems, undersized units, and building and site design issues that are impossible to fix without redevelopment. The existing structures pose severe, adverse environmental health effects to residents due to poor unit ventilation creating mildew and mold problems, and the presence of lead and asbestos in flooring, walls and finishes.

However, the neighborhood has many positive assets. It is centrally located with easy access by public transit to points within and beyond the city. Some of the city's major education, civic and cultural institutions are located within the neighborhood. There has been strategic focus and investment by the city, non-profits and private partners for the past 20 years, resulting in significant physical revitalization of the neighborhood with more planned. Despite efforts to improve the neighborhood physically, poverty, crime and unemployment continue to persist in the Whittier community.

In 2004 the City adopted the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan after a lengthy community process. The plan created a platform for future development and community engagement in the area. The planning process led to recent developer designations for the neighborhood's largest vacant parcels, with over $200 million in planned development projects that will include market-rate and affordable housing, office and commercial space, a hotel, supermarket and a cultural center over the next decade.

BHA's Choice Neighborhoods initiative for Whittier is the result of a group of key housing, educational, city and community partners coming together to take the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan to the next level by providing new housing with a strategic focus on developing educational opportunities for Whittier's kids and young adults. The goal of the Choice Neighborhoods planning process is to provide a plan that will transform the neighborhood and address longstanding issues of poverty and lack of opportunity to ensure that Whittier Street residents and their low-income neighbors are not left behind as the neighborhood in which they live is transformed.


Content Archived: April 8, 2014