HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 11-04
Alan Gelfand
(973) 776-7205
For Release
March 18, 2011

Jersey City is one of 17 to receive first of HUD Choice Neighborhood Grants

NEWARK - U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan joined U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy today to announce that Jersey City is among 17 cities to be awarded the first Planning Grant funding through the Department's new Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. Jersey City will receive $250,000 to transform the McGinley Square-Montgomery Corridor into a new viable and sustainable mixed-income neighborhood.

The communities awarded funding today will share a total of $4 million in Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants while six other communities are selected as finalists to compete for approximately $61 million in Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grants.

HUD's new Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CN) will promote 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 will link housing improvements with a wider variety of public services including schools, public transit and employment opportunities.

"Today in New Jersey, we turn a new page in the way we tackle intergenerational poverty," said Donovan. "President Obama has said that there is no greater economic policy than one that invests in our children's future and helps America out-educate the world. But that's not possible if we leave a whole generation of children behind in our poorest neighborhoods. The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative expands on the bipartisan success of the HOPE VI program, as seen in the Lafayette Gardens, Curries Woods and A. Harry Moore communities, by recognizing that we must link affordable housing with a mix of incomes and uses with quality education, public transportation, good jobs and safe streets."

"This funding is a critical step towards expanding access to jobs, educational programs and services for Jersey City families," said U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, which funds this program. "Revitalizing distressed communities will make our neighborhoods safer and bring new opportunities to families across our state and country."

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez said: "Families in affordable housing are working for the same things all of us work for - to find or keep a good-paying job, to send their kids to a quality school, and to live in safe communities.  I am proud to have reintroduced just yesterday in the U.S. Senate the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative bill, which will revitalize public housing while connecting families to public transportation, jobs, schools and businesses.  This legislation expands the current program - providing $350 million to help integrate and modernize affordable homes, up from only $65 million this year. That is a dramatic investment in the future of New Jersey families."

"We are grateful that HUD and Secretary Donovan have recognized our city once again and that the neighborhood of Montgomery Gardens and the McGinley Square Corridor will be the beneficiary of this $250,000 grant, which will be used for planning a neighborhood-wide revitalization plan," said Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy.

The Jersey City Housing Authority is partnering with The Michaels Development Company and Metrovest Equities to develop a Transformation Plan for the McGinley Square–Montgomery Corridor neighborhood including the Montgomery Gardens public housing development. The public housing development has become a magnet for criminal activity and the buildings contain many defects including inadequate unit sizes, water quality and flooding issues and poorly maintained storm inlets. The Montgomery Square-Montgomery Corridor neighborhood suffers from the effects of concentrated poverty and has a neighborhood poverty rate of 33.61 percent. However, the neighborhood lies in close proximity to a wide-range of services and job opportunities in the greater New York City metropolitan area and is conveniently located to a PATH train station. With support from the City of Jersey City, the planning process will look to leverage these strengths as well as build on current plans for two new charter schools and an entertainment complex in the neighborhood. In addition to improving the neighborhood's affordable housing stock and increase the neighborhood's access to supportive services, the Transformation Plan will strengthen the neighborhood's connections to high quality educational programs.

The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is a centerpiece of the Obama Administration's interagency Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative – a collaboration between the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Education, Justice, Treasury and Health and Human Services to support the ability of local leaders from the public and private sectors and attract the private investment needed to transform distressed neighborhoods into sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods with the affordable housing, safe streets and good schools every family needs.

HUD received 119 submissions for CN Planning Grants and 42 submissions from communities seeking CN Implementation Grants. Successful Planning Grant applicants demonstrated their intent to transform 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, people and neighborhoods.

The 17 communities awarded CN Planning Grants will use the funding to build the capacity they need to get them ready to undertake a successful neighborhood transformation to create a choice neighborhood. These grants will enable these communities to create a comprehensive "Transformation Plan," or road map, for transforming distressed public and/or assisted housing within a distressed community. This Federal support provides a significant incentive for the local community to take critical steps to create viable neighborhood transformation.

The six finalists for CN Implementation Grants have already undertaken the comprehensive local planning process and are ready to move forward with their Transformation Plan to redevelop their target neighborhoods. HUD will publish a second Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) shortly to give these finalists the opportunity to assemble and submit a more detailed application for the approximately $61 million in available funding. HUD will award these grants by the end of September.

Congress approved the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative with the passage of HUD's FY 2010 budget, allowing HUD to use $65 million in funding to provide competitive grants to assist in the transformation, rehabilitation and preservation of public housing and privately owned HUD-assisted housing.  CN builds on the successes and lessons of HUD's HOPE VI program and widened the traditional pool of eligible applicants by allowing, in addition to public housing authorities, local governments, nonprofit organizations and for-profit developers (who apply jointly with a public entity) to apply.


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 at @HUDnews or on Facebook at, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.


Content Archived: October 16, 2013