HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD R3 No.12-18
Niki Edwards
(215) 430-6622
For Release
October 11, 2012

17 entities nationwide receive grants to execute grassroots efforts to revitalize housing, communities

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that Roanoke, Va., will receive $200,000 to execute grassroots efforts to revitalize public housing at Landsdowne Park and Melrose Towers and to transform the neighborhood.

The Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority is one of 17 entities from across the U.S. receiving a Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant today. The funding provides these communities the resources they need to craft comprehensive, community-driven plans to revitalize public or other HUD-assisted housing and transform distressed neighborhoods.

"This funding will enable Roanoke to heighten discussions with local partners on strategies that will build a stronger, more sustainable community and address distressed housing, failing schools and rampant crime," said Jane Vincent, Regional Administrator of the mid-Atlantic region.

HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative promotes 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 links housing improvements with necessary services for the people who live there - including schools, public transit and employment opportunities.

The awardees announced today were selected from among 72 applications. Successful applicants demonstrated their intent to plan for the transformation of 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: Transform distressed public and assisted housing into energy efficient, mixed-income housing that is physically and financially viable over the long-term;
  • People: Support positive outcomes for families who live in the target development(s) and the surrounding neighborhood, particularly outcomes related to residents' health, safety, employment, mobility, and education; and
  • Neighborhood: Transform neighborhoods of poverty into viable, mixed-income neighborhoods with access to well-functioning services, high quality public schools and education programs, high quality early learning programs and services, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs.

The grantees will use the funding to work with local stakeholders - public and/or assisted housing residents, community members, businesses, institutions and local government officials - to undertake a successful neighborhood transformation to create a "choice neighborhood." The awardees will use the funding to create a comprehensive Transformation Plan, or road map, to transforming distressed public and/or assisted housing within a distressed community.

Choice Neighborhoods is one of the signature programs of the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, ( which supports innovative, holistic strategies that bring public and private partners together to help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. Choice Neighborhoods encourages collaboration between HUD and the Departments of Education, Justice, Treasury and Health and Human Services to support local solutions for sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods with the affordable housing, safe streets and good schools all families need.

Congress approved the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative with the passage of HUD's FY2010 budget. Funding is provided through two separate programs - Implementation Grants and Planning Grants. With this announcement, HUD has awarded a total of $12.55 million in Planning Grants to 46 cities or counties.

Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants are awarded to entities that have completed a comprehensive local planning process and are ready to move forward with their Transformation Plan to redevelop their target housing and neighborhoods. In August, HUD announced the nine finalists that will compete for approximately $110 million in 2012 Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants to transform public and other HUD-assisted housing in targeted neighborhoods. Teams recently completed site visits as part of the application review process to determine which of the finalists will receive Implementation grants.

Last year, HUD awarded its first CN Implementation grants for Chicago, Boston, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle, a combined $122.27 million investment to bring comprehensive neighborhood revitalization to blighted areas in these cities.


[Map: Virginia] Roanoke, VA

Choice Neighborhoods Grantee: Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority
Target Public Housing Projects: Lansdowne Park and Melrose Towers
Target Neighborhood: Loudon/Melrose-Shenandoah West Neighborhood
Choice Neighborhood Grant Amount: $200,000

Key Partners:
City of Roanoke, Roanoke City Schools, Total Action Against Poverty, Loudon/Melrose Neighborhood Organization, Melrose Towers Resident Council, Habitat for Humanity of the Roanoke Valley, Rebuilding Together, Goodwill, Carilion Clinic and Roanoke Regional Housing Network.

Project Summary:
The Loudon/Melrose-Shenandoah West neighborhood is an inner-city neighborhood located between the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks to the south and a major arterial street to the north. Primarily an African-American community that lacks diversity, the area has experienced a gradual decline in population and an increase in elderly residents over the years. The community has a poverty rate of 44.3 percent and a failing school system. The neighborhood contains two distressed public housing projects, Lansdowne Park and Melrose Towers, which are contributing factors to the disinvestment in the community. However, the neighborhood consists of recently-built multifamily complexes with a range of retail, commercial and industrial development scattered throughout, making it a prime location for continued investment.

Lansdowne Park is a 61-year-old public housing development with 73 distressed residential buildings containing 300 public housing units on 21.3 acres. It is constructed in a superblock configuration that lacks through streets, off-street parking and connection to the adjacent community. Melrose Towers is a nine-story high-rise building constructed in 1972 and comprised of 212 apartments for elderly and disabled families. The building is plagued with aged and outdated systems.

The vision is to transform the neighborhood into a livable, sustainable, mixed-income community with economically thriving retail, commercial and industrial development by building on its strengths. Community strengths include local and active neighborhood advocacy groups, an "Enterprise Zone One" designation, an EPA Brownfields Area-Wide Planning grant for Roanoke's "Rail Corridor Planning Area," the Melrose and Horton Parks for recreational use, a planned $2.2 million library renovation and expansion, and vacant parcels of land available to provide the opportunity for industrial and commercial as well as infill residential development.

The housing authority and its partners plan to conduct community and resident needs assessments to determine the neighborhood vision, assets and amenities; address redevelopment options to decrease poverty concentration, diversify housing and ensure one-for-one replacement of public housing units; create the necessary transition space for coexistence of industrial and commercial with residential space; ensure successful strategies for retail, commercial, industrial and brownfields development; continue the partnerships necessary to address the needs of families in education, employment, mobility, health and housing; and develop a financial plan to attain the resources necessary to carry out the Transformation Plan.


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 asa 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.


Content Archived: March 18, 2014