|HUD No. 11-TK
November 21, 2011
HUD ANNOUNCES 2011 SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES AWARDS
North Jersey grant will impact 13 counties and create jobs, improve housing, transportation and economic vitality of urban and rural regions
NEW JERSEY - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Rutgers University President Richard L. McCormick announced a $5 million HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant award to the North Jersey Sustainable Communities Consortium. The grant was announced as part of the 2011 Sustainable Communities Grants, totaling close to $96 million. 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. When half of the working families in the area spend 45% of income in 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," he added.
The North Jersey Sustainable Communities Consortium grant will develop a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development for the 13-county North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) region. The plan will use sustainability, transit system connectivity and transit-oriented-development as the central framework for integrating plans, regulations, investments, and incentive programs at all levels of government to bring jobs and create more economic development opportunities in the area. The Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University will serve as the administrative/fiscal agent for the grant. Staff from Rutgers-Bloustein will coordinate the overall business of the Consortium, and oversee the work of the project team.
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.
"This award demonstrates New Jersey's leadership when it comes to good planning," said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. "It is an opportunity to create jobs, save taxpayer dollars, reduce families' household expenditures, and help local communities across the 13 northern New Jersey counties create places of lasting value - where businesses want to invest and families want to live. Rutgers University, the New Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, and their tremendous set of partners bring the right skills and expertise to the table in order for this effort to be a great success. Comprehensive, locally directed planning is the blueprint for long-term prosperity and this initiative fits squarely into broader efforts underway to spur economic development, support families when they need it most, and keep the U.S. competitive in the global economy. This kind of integrated approach makes sense for New Jersey and the country as a whole."
"It is gratifying to know that HUD has designated this project worthy of substantial investment, as it demonstrates that Rutgers and the Bloustein School are leaders in developing innovative policies that can be a model for the country," said Rutgers University President Richard L. McCormick.
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 states, 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 complemented 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."
For a complete listing of this year's grantees and their proposals, please visit HUD's website.
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. You can also follow HUD on Twitter at @HUDnews or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.