HUD Archives: News Releases


HUD Region V No.5.2010-10-14
Laura J. Feldman
(312) 913-8332
For Release
Thursday
October 14, 2010

HUD AWARDS NEARLY $6 MILLION TO PROMOTE SMARTER AND SUSTAINABLE PLANNING FOR JOBS AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN
MINNESOTA
Part of Obama Administration's Partnership for Sustainable Communities

MINNEAPOLIS - For the first time ever, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is awarding nearly $6 million to support more livable and sustainable communities in two regional areas in Minnesota. The funding announced today will support The Metropolitan Council of St. Paul and The Region Five Development Commission of Staples, through a new initiative intended to build economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, quality schools and transportation.

"Regions that embrace sustainable communities will have a built-in competitive edge in attracting jobs and private investment," said U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. "Planning our communities
smarter means parents will spend less time driving and more time with their children; more families will live in safe, stable communities near good schools and jobs; and more businesses will have access to the capital and talent they need to grow and prosper. In awarding these grants we were committed to using insight and innovation from our stakeholders and local partners to develop a 'bottom-up' approach to changing federal policy as opposed to 'top-down.' Rather than sticking to the old Washington playbook of dictating how communities can invest their grants, HUD's application process encouraged creative, locally focused thinking."

The Metropolitan Council of St. Paul will be awarded $5,000,000. The program will support comprehensive transit corridor plans that include strategies to provide access to living-wage jobs and affordable and life-cycle housing choices; and align workforce opportunities with corridor employment prospects; and improve connections to sources of fresh and locally-grown and ethnic foods. The Council will deploy innovative storm water management techniques that support TOD and manage runoff; encourage active living by improving bike and pedestrian connections from station areas to jobs, housing, retail, and recreation; support existing businesses; mitigate the impacts of potential gentrification; and reduce energy use. Ultimately, the effort will build local implementation capacity within regional corridors to advance inter-jurisdictional planning, regulatory, and administrative efforts that will support the Sustainable Communities program goals and implement the Livability Principles.

The Region Five Development Commission of Staples will be awarded $825,050. The Region Five Consortium represents the people of Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena Counties in Central Minnesota. This grant offering has catalyzed an extraordinary team of partners that have begun working together to identify the critical needs of the region and created a step-by-step collaborative approach to plan for the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of their communities. This is crucial in a rural and small town region with a
population of 162,000 in 69,000 households spread over an area of nearly 4 million acres (6,057 square miles).

HUD's new Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program will support a total of 45 State, local, and
tribal governments, as well as metropolitan planning organizations, in the development and execution of regional
plans that integrate affordable housing with neighboring retail and business development. Many of the grants will leverage existing infrastructure and all reward local collaboration and innovation.

These grants are part of the Obama Administration's Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which brings EPA,
HUD, USDA and DOT together to ensure that the agencies' policies, programs, and funding consider affordable housing, transportation, and environmental protection together. This interagency collaboration gets better results
for communities and uses taxpayer money more efficiently. Coordinating federal investments in infrastructure, facilities, and services meets multiple economic, environmental, and community objectives with each dollar spent.

The Partnership is helping communities across the country to create more housing choices, make transportation
more efficient and reliable, reinforce existing investments, and support vibrant and healthy neighborhoods that
attract businesses. At a time when every dollar the federal government invests in jumpstarting the economy is critical, the President's plan ensures that all these agencies are coordinating efforts and targeting resources with precision. Reflecting this new collaboration, these grants were judged by a multidisciplinary review team, drawn
from eight federal agencies and from partners in philanthropy.

HUD's inaugural grants under this program will support metropolitan and multi-jurisdictional planning efforts that incorporate housing, land use, economic development, transportation and infrastructure. This holistic planning approach will benefit diverse areas across the U.S. including $25.6 million split evenly between regions with populations less than 500,000 and rural places (fewer than 200,000 people). HUD is reserving $2 million to help
all of these areas build the needed capacity to execute their plans.

The grants are awarded through one of two categories. One category of grants will assist regional planning for sustainable development where such plans do not currently exist. A second category of funding will support the implementation of existing sustainability plans.

Shelley Poticha, the director of HUD's new Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities said, "The response to
this program is huge. We were inundated with applications from every state and two territories - from central cities
to rural areas and tribal governments. This program was designed by people from local government, and
incorporated local input at every stage."

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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 www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.

 

 
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