HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 11-CO-Sustainability-001
Erik Amundson
(406) 447-1488
For Release
November 22, 2011

Grants will create jobs, improve housing, transportation and economic vitality of urban and rural regions

HELENA - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Director for the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities Shelley Poticha, joined by Opportunity Link Executive Director Barbara Stiffarm, Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation officials, congressional office staff, and partners throughout north-central Montana, announced today a $1.5 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant award. The funding will be used to develop the North-Central Montana Regional Plan for Sustainable Development, engaging regional governments, planners, stakeholders, and residents throughout a 36-month period to develop a high road approach to emerging jobs and contracts.

Twenty seven communities and organizations will receive Community Challenge grants and 29 regional areas will receive Regional Planning grants. The goal of the Sustainable Communities grants is to help communities and regions improve their economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, quality schools and transportation.

"Our nation's ability to compete in a global economy and create jobs is dependent upon how quickly and efficiently
we can connect our workers and families to education and employment opportunities." said HUD Secretary Donovan.

"This year we are especially proud that we had a particular focus on funding proposals that included more chambers
of commerce and economic development corporations as core partners. These grants will be leveraged with local funds more than doubling the investment and, helping to create new visions for how communities and regions plan
for housing, transportation, workforce development and the quality of life of their residents for generations to come. When 52% of the average working family's income is devoted to housing and transportation costs alone, we know that we have a responsibility to fix that and to provide housing and transportation options that can improve their quality of life and economic stability," said Rick M. Garcia.

"I am proud to support Opportunity Link's goals to help Montana communities grow in a way that makes the most sense for jobs, the economy and our outdoor heritage. And I'm excited to see them turn those goals into action through this grant," said Montana's Senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus, who wrote a letter in support of the grant.

"This investment demonstrates our commitment to supporting economic development and creating jobs in Montana's rural communities," said U.S. Senator Jon Tester. "And it reflects Opportunity Link's leadership in connecting Montanans to new opportunities�helping folks along the Hi-Line get to work, access health care, or go to school."

HUD's Community Challenge Grants aim to reform and reduce barriers to achieving affordable, economically vital and sustainable communities. The funds are awarded to communities, large and small, to address local challenges to integrating transportation and housing. Such efforts may include amending or updating local master plans, zoning codes, and building codes to support private sector investment in mixed-use development, affordable housing and
the re-use of older buildings. Other local efforts may include retrofitting main streets to provide safer routes for children and seniors, or preserving affordable housing and local businesses near new transit stations.

The Regional Planning Grant program encourages grantees to support regional planning efforts that integrate
housing, land-use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure developments in a
manner that empowers regions to consider how all of these factors work together to create more jobs and economic opportunities. The program will place a priority on partnerships, including the collaboration of arts and culture, philanthropy, and innovative ideas to the regional planning process. Recognizing that areas are in different stages
of sustainability planning, HUD has established two categories for the Regional Planning Grant program. The first supports communities that are beginning the conversation about how best to align their housing, transportation, environment, and other infrastructure investments. The second recognizes that some communities have already achieved significant momentum and are prepared to move toward completion and implementation of regional plans for sustainable development.

As was the case last year, the demand for both programs far exceeded the available funding. This year HUD received over $500 million in funding requests from communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico for the $96 million in available funding. This year's grants will impact 45.8 million Americans by helping their communities and regions become more efficient and competitive while improving quality of life. Combined with the 87 grants
funded last year, this program is providing opportunities for the more than 133 million Americans who live in regions and communities working to shape local plans for how their communities will grow and develop over the next 50
years. This year's grantees continue to reflect a diverse group of regions and communities that believe in sustainability. Grants were awarded in the states of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.

Community Challenge Grants and Regional Planning Grants are also significantly complimented and leveraged by local, state and private resources. This year, HUD's investment of $95.8 million is garnering $115 million in matching and in-kind contributions - which is over 120% of the Federal investment - from the 56 selected grantees. This brings to total public and private investment for this round of grants to over $211 million. These grants are part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which is represents an association between HUD, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 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.

"The demand for sustainability grants is very high; we would have needed $500 million to fund all proposals we received this year," said HUD Office of Sustainable Housing Communities (OSHC) Director, Shelley Poticha. "We are confident that the mix of rural and urban proposals that we selected this year will have a great impact in their communities and will create nearly 2,000 jobs."


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.



Montana: Regional Planning Grant Award

Opportunity Link will be awarded $1,500,000 to develop the North-Central Montana Regional Planning for Sustainable Development. This process will engage regional governments, planners, stakeholders and residents throughout a 36-month period to develop a high road approach to emerging jobs and contracts, and a series of baseline and benchmark metrics that can guide evaluation of progress. Opportunity Link will provide GIS-based scenario planning, training in comprehensive sustainable plan, and one-on-one follow-up technical assistance to government planning offices. Training opportunities will be provided throughout the project period with current data and new resources made available to residents, organizations and planners online through the North-Central Montana Sustainable Communities Clearinghouse.

Anticipated Project Benefits:

  • Engage regional governments, planners, stakeholders and residents throughout a 36-month period to develop citizen involvement, government coordination, a high road approach to emerging jobs and contracts, and a
    series of baseline and benchmark metrics that can guide evaluation of progress

  • Creation of coordinated plan elements in areas of transportation; housing; economic development; and quality of life issues, including potable and storm water management, obesity and diabetes reduction.
Funding Amount: $1,500,000
Core Partners: Cascade County, Teton County, Chouteau County, Toole County, Glacier County Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Hill County Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Judith Basin County, Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation, Liberty County City of Great Falls, Great Falls MPO, Phillips County City of Havre, Pondera County
HUD Region: 8
Congressional District: MT-001


Content Archived: Januray 23, 2013