HUD Reg. VI: 10-64
(817) 978-5974 / (817) 681-9741
October 15, 2010
HUD AWARDS $3.7 MILLION TO HOUSTON TO PROMOTE SMARTER AND SUSTAINABLE PLANNING FOR JOBS AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
Part of Obama Administration's Partnership for Sustainable Communities
FORT WORTH - For the first time ever, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is awarding $3,750,000 to support more livable and sustainable communities in 13 counties in the Houston and Galveston area. The funding announced today will support a new initiative by the Houston-Galveston Area Council to build economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, quality schools and transportation.
The announcement was made at an event attended by Congressional Representatives Al Green, Shelia Jackson Lee, and Gene Green, as well as Houston Mayor Annise Parker.
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 will have a built-in competitive edge in attracting jobs and private investment," said HUD Regional Administrator C. Donald Babers. "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."
"I thank President Obama and HUD for developing this new program, which takes a holistic regional approach to the development of future communities. The goal of combining regional housing with employment opportunities, quality schools and transportation systems has the potential to be the best formula to take us into the next generation of community development. More stable and prosperous neighborhoods will be possible thanks to these competitive grants," said Congressman Al Green.
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 awarded in one of two categories: grants for regional planning for sustainable development where
such plans do not currently exist (the Houston-Galveston Area Council grant falls in this category), and grants that support the implementation of existing sustainability plans.
The Houston-Galveston Area Council will use its grant to address the interaction of land use, transportation, housing, economic development, infrastructure, and environment - and the social equity issues related to each -
and will contain implementation strategies for the region's urban, suburban, rural and coastal communities.
Jack Steele, Executive Director for the Houston-Galveston Area Council said, "I am delighted to learn that the Houston-Galveston region has been selected to receive funding for sustainable regional planning. This work will build upon previous efforts by many leaders to make a more livable region. Houston has a great economy and a vibrant quality of life; this program can help strengthen both. We are excited to work with our local partners in building a better region."
Core partners include the City of Houston; METRO; Houston Advanced Research Center; Texas Southern University; Port of Houston Authority; Coast Economic Development District; Bay City Community Development; Waller County Economic Development; City of Galveston; Montgomery County; Chambers County; City of Huntsville; Houston Wilderness; Houston Tomorrow; Blueprint Houston-Center for Houston's Future; VN Team Work, Inc.; Local Initiative Support Corporation; Local Initiatives Support Corp.; Neighborhood Centers, Inc; Greater Houston Builders Association; Fort Bend County; Brazoria County; Bolivar Blueprint-PenDeCo Inc.; Harris County; and United Way.
The corps partners will provide additional leveraging funds of $3,733,272; contact for the Council is Cheryl Mergo, (713) 993-4520.
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.