October 14, 2010
HUD AWARDS $710,000 TO ARKANSAS ORGANIZATION TO PROMOTE SMARTER AND SUSTAINABLE PLANNING FOR JOBS AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN COAHOMA COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI
Part of Obama Administration's Partnership for Sustainable Communities
ATLANTA - For the first time ever, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is awarding $710,000 to Southern Bancorp Capital Partners, a non-profit organization in Helena, Arkansas, to support more
livable and sustainable communities in neighboring Coahoma County, Mississippi. The funding announced today will support a new initiative by Southern Bancorp to build economic competitiveness in the county by connecting
housing with good jobs, quality schools and transportation.
Southern Bancorp Capital Partners of Helena, Arkansas, will use its grant to develop a detailed plan for revitalizing
the physical and economic infrastructure of neighboring Coahoma County, Mississippi, including the areas of housing, transportation, natural resources, economic development and water systems. Stakeholders and members of the general public will be involved in developing the plan.
HUD's new Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program is providing $98 million nationally in grants to a total of 45 State, local, and tribal governments and metropolitan planning organizations, to develop and execute regional plans that integrate affordable housing with neighboring retail and business development and transportation. Many of the grants will leverage existing infrastructure and all reward local collaboration and innovation.
"Regions that embrace sustainable communities a competitive edge in attracting jobs and private investment," said HUD Regional Administrator Ed Jennings, Jr. "Planning our communities' smarter means a lot especially for parents as they 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."
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. Interagency collaborations achieve better results
for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently. Reflecting this new collaboration, these grants were
judged by a multidisciplinary review team, drawn from eight federal agencies and from partners in philanthropy.
Shelley Poticha, the director of HUD's new Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, said, "The response to
this program has been 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."
The grants are being awarded in one of two categories: grants for regional planning for sustainable development where such plans do not currently exist (SBCP's grant falls in this category), and grants that support the implementation of existing sustainability plans.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to sustaining homeownership; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.