FY 1998 - 2003 Strategic Plan
Strategic Objective #1
Empower communities to meet local needs.
Our mission of creating communities of opportunity requires more
than just administering our programs on a day-to-day basis. HUD
must take a proactive, leadership role in partnering with America's
communities. As we move towards the future of America, we will
help communities to solve their own problems by
- Planning and executing housing and community development
initiatives that are community-driven;
- Coordinating comprehensive, sustainable solutions to urban
- Streamlining housing and community development programs
to make them more efficient and effective;
- Increasing access by and communication between citizens
and government at all levels.
Key to this objective is the Consolidated Planning Process.
The Consolidated Plan/Community Connections system, initiated
in 1994-5, was developed to offer a more comprehensive and rational
approach to housing and community development planning. It was
an attempt to break down the barriers between four block grant
programs totalling over $6 billion annually to allow communities
more flexibility in applying different programs in an integrated
way to solve local problems. CPD folded 12 different planning,
application, and reporting requirements of these four programs
into one planning and reporting system, enabling the communities
to address their problems more comprehensively. The Consolidated
Plan/Community Connections anticipated the current "placed-based
strategy" which has been applied to all of HUD.
This approach has been a success. It was one of the 10 projects
in the United States to receive a Ford Foundation/Kennedy School
of Government innovations award in 1996. Every large city, urban
county, and State in the United States undertook a three to five
year strategic plan as part of their Consolidated Plan in 1995
or 1996. Annually, every State and entitlement community submits
an action plan showing how they are going to spend current fiscal
year funds received by formula to carry out the goals laid out
in the strategic plan. Some 1,000 Consolidated Plan summaries
were placed on the Web for all to see. The system has the following
- Instead of submitting separate plans and applications to address
community development, affordable housing, homelessness or housing
for persons with HIV/AIDS, communities now submit a single, comprehensive
strategic plan. It serves as the application and funding mechanism
for four different block grants: the Community Development Block
Grant program (CDBG), HOME investment partnerships, Emergency
Shelter Grants, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS
(HOPWA). Moreover, it includes a comprehensive homeless needs
assessment and plan which is reflected in applications for competitive
homeless assistance programs. It also provides a comprehensive
frame of reference for other HUD programs, making it an instrument
for integrated HUD programs at the local level.
- It includes a strong empowerment component to ensure that
citizens understand and participate in the development of programs
to meet their needs. The goal is to create community-based integrated
planning. Citizens must be given adequate time to comment on
proposed plans and reports on accomplishments. Therefore, citizens
are part of the control system of HUD because if communities did
not do what they said they were going to do, citizens would complain
to HUD and the community.
- To ensure that information on proposed projects is presented
clearly to help citizens understand what is proposed, HUD provided
software for community use. This software package includes on-the-shelf
software. Grantees use the software to produce the text file,
data base, and map files. The software displays maps of proposed
projects located by neighborhood showing social and economic conditions
in those neighborhoods. Data files on proposed projects can be
aggregated nationally. That software has now been updated with
a more sophisticated set of census data for application as a systems
integration device for all of HUD programs: it can show on a single
map all HUD projects (proposed and actual) which have addresses
and are put into the system. It is now called Community 2020.
Citizens, communities, and local housing authorities all over
the United States have been sold or given copies of this software
- Grantees must identify for every specific objective proposed
accomplishments the jurisdiction hopes to achieve in quantitative
terms for the strategic plan period, or in other measurable terms.
Proposed actions should be related to identified needs.
- Part of this system is the Integrated Disbursement and Information
System (IDIS), which essentially is an automated system to draw
down funds and report on progress in achieving goals. Among the
advantages of this system are that it provides more accurate and
timely information on results, provides consistent and clear information
to citizens, HUD Offices. CPD has also developed a performance
mapping system to allow citizens to view the location of completed
and partially completed activities. When fully loaded with data
on results, this data should be accessible to all using the Web.
- Communities can download annual IDIS data on results achieved
for use in their Community Annual Performance and Evaluation report
which they must submit. This document informs citizens what the
grantee has accomplished with its CPD funds and other leveraged
funding during the program year.
- Armed with more accurate data on achievements, our Field Offices
conduct a more meaningful annual community assessment for each
grantee. They ask the questions: (a) what did the community say
it would do? (b) what did the community do? (3) what is HUD's
opinion of what the community did? Annual Community Assessments
have been completed for most of the grantees in the United States.
- Field Offices prepare an Annual Comparative Review which ranks
grantees in each Field Office by quality and risk after identifying
those that HUD considered to be demonstrating "best practices",
those that are performing well, and those that need more oversight
or technical assistance. A list of best practices provides a
tool to offer peer-to-peer technical assistance. In July of this
year, a conference on best practices was held which identified
good performers in economic development, housing, homeless support
and other areas. The list of grantees which are not performing
well provides the basis for developing a work plan for field monitoring
and technical assistance for each Field Office for the following
- Once the first full program year is completed with most grantees
on IDIS, a national data base can be developed which will display
grantees' achievements in quantitative terms which will permit
comparison of one grantee with another. This will be a form of
"benchmarking" which will enable HUD to offer technical
assistance to communities which are performing significantly below
the levels of comparably-situated communities.
Planning and executing housing and community development initiatives
that are community-driven
Local communities know best how to implement programs. While
maintaining a needed focus on meeting national objectives established
by Congress, Government must empower citizens and communities
in planning how their taxpayer dollars are to be spent. A new
emphasis on citizen participation and bottom-up planning and program
design drives HUD's internal organization and its relationship
to its grantees. Field Offices will continue to be given significantly
increased authority to waive requirements, develop integrated
customer service plans, including technical assistance, geared
toward meeting specific local needs, and implement priorities
in a manner that addresses the unique circumstances of the areas
they deal with daily.
Through the Consolidated Planning Process, HUD has instituted
a unified and streamlined process for creating locally driven
strategies for housing and community development. Instead of
submitting disparate, unconnected applications and plans, jurisdictions
now prepare five-year vision statements -- and one-year action
plans -- for the use of Federal funds with extensive citizen participation.
Coordinating comprehensive, sustainable solutions to urban
Solving community needs requires a holistic, comprehensive strategy
that links economic, human, physical, environmental and other
concerns. While separate program requirements may address individual
elements, neighborhoods in fact operate as systems. The most
effective solutions are those that reflect a comprehensive, coordinated
approach. The plethora of programs and regulations HUD traditionally
administered actually undercut communities' ability to implement
comprehensive solutions. Traditionally, as new urban problems
emerged, separate categorical programs to address them would be
funded. As a result, communities were required to focus on specific
symptoms of larger problems and were prevented from addressing
the underlying causes.
HUD's proposed public housing reforms will allow housing authorities
to take a more comprehensive approach to managing their assets
and programs. Housing Authorities will be able to plan and manage
stock in a manner consistent with sound real estate management
practices rather than simply managing to outdated regulations.
In addition, Housing Authorities will be required to certify
that their stock management strategies are consistent with the
local Consolidated Plan, thereby tying their activities to urgent
community needs. These reform measures include: flexible use of
capital and operating funds, use of mixed-finance development,
the conversion of competitive grants to formula allocations that
will allow Housing Authorities to plan their use strategically,
and allowing Housing Authorities to retain operating and capital
funds for the replacement of obsolete housing.
HUD will also promote urban development that is friendly to the
environment. HUD is committed to demonstrating that economic
growth and environmental quality are complementary. Some examples:
sustainable development will again be one of the key selection
criteria for the Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities;
and Homeownership Zones will adopt pedestrian friendly design
standards that will contribute to improved air quality in urban
Streamlining housing and community development programs to
make them more efficient and effective
Streamlining and simplifying programs are essential steps to
making them much more comprehensible and approachable, eliminating
burdensome requirements, stripping away superfluous procedures
and focusing on what works. Previous efforts to implement detailed
program requirements were accompanied by overly restrictive program
submissions and produced a dysfunctional system in which regulations
and process triumphed over performance and product. Through the
Consolidated Planning Process and other strategies, HUD will continue
its efforts to reduce paperwork and burdensome regulations; enable
communities to submit long range plans using a new, electronic
paperless system; harness new technologies to move both HUD and
community development in general into the 21st century; and condition
funding on clear, locally-determined performance measures.
HUD has also proposed legislation that would convert inflexible
and labor-intensive competitive grant programs into flexible formula
grants. Formula grants conserve valuable staff time by eliminating
time consuming annual competitions. They also make funding more
predictable so that communities may plan strategically. HUD legislation
would consolidate homeless assistance services from six disparate
programs into one flexible, performance-based program. Capital
funds for smaller PHAs and Drug Elimination Grants for public
housing communities would also be converted to formula.
Other programmatic reforms will improve the performance of HUD
programs. The development of flexible capital and operating funds
and expansion of mixed financed development mechanisms will allow
Housing Authorities to manage assets strategically. The merger
of the Section 8 certificate and voucher programs and implementation
of streamlining measures will make tenant based assistance easier
for HUD, Housing Authorities and private landlords to administer.
In addition, HUD will begin to administer the "NAHASDA"
Block Grant, which provides Tribally-Designated Housing Entities
with flexible funding.
Increasing access by and communication between citizens and
Government at all levels
An essential element of community empowerment is access to information
and improved communication with Government. We must maintain
open lines of communication not just among Government and citizens,
but also among different levels of Government and within the Department
as well. New computer technologies can be put to work to facilitate
this communication. But, more than that, Government must learn
how to talk with local communities; it must reach out and involve
local residents. HUD will take advantage of new technologies,
moving its programs and the communities they serve onto the information
highway. New computer software for use in preparing the Consolidated
Plan is being provided to all communities. The software makes
planning easier for citizens and elected officials. Every community
has received a package that includes a mapping system that illustrates
the following: where Federal dollars are being spent locally;
up-to-date information on neighborhood characteristics such as
average income, age, education, and housing market characteristics;
the location of existing public infrastructure, streets, utilities,
parks, and other public facilities.
HUD will make maximum use of this technology to ensure that every
citizen has information on Consolidated Plans for their community.
Summaries of Consolidated Plans from 987 communities are expected
to be placed on the Web, with some 1,000 placed on the Web to
date. This includes maps of proposed projects in relation to
social and economic conditions in the community. The HUD Website
will continue to provide citizens and communities with information
about the total range of HUD programs and issues facing urban
Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing
The Department has moved in the direction of empowering communities
to chart their own course in resolving local problems. It began
by allowing communities to define impediments to housing opportunities
in the community and develop a strategy and program to eliminate
Fair Housing Planning's Analysis of Impediments is the vehicle
that empowers the communities to define their local fair housing
problems and develop a program to eliminate these impediments.
This effort enables the community to develop a holistic approach
and gives it the responsibility and authority to decide the nature
and extent of fair housing problems and design a program that
assures accessibility and housing opportunities to all of its
Through its fair housing and other grant programs, the Department
will support locallydriven efforts to address tensions which
arise in their communities when persons seek to expand their housing
choice. Such tensions may arise when communities implement court
settlements designed to eliminate racial segregation in public
housing, take steps to reduce the isolation of low income groups
within a community or geographical area, or provide new group
homes for persons with disabilities. Rather than dictating solutions
to such problems, the Department will empower communities to implement
their own strategies, to coordinate these strategies with their
Consolidated Plan and community development programs, and to build
upon collaborative grassroots efforts among local governmental
agencies, fair housing organizations, and other community groups.
FHEO will work closely with EPA and other HUD Program Offices
to assure that residents of its housing programs are not unduly
impacted by negative environmental conditions, (i.e., toxic waste,
The Department views this effort as an integral part of meeting
our urban problems, as it is part of a comprehensive and coordinated
approach to meeting the needs of all local residents.
Housing - Working with the Communities
Single Family has a property disposition program targeted to
nonprofits (30% discounts). Consultation with the communities
frequently occurs via the nonprofits. Sales through May
of this fiscal year in this program were 2,067 properties versus
a goal of 2,082.
In Multifamily, as part of the foreclosure process, HUD contacts
state and local governments and the local PHA to determine if
there is any interest in the possible purchase or future use of
the project. In addition, these entities have a right of first
refusal to purchase projects if they become HUDowned.
Both the FY 1997 Portfolio Reengineering Demonstration and the
proposed legislation require that project tenants and the affected
units of local Government have an opportunity to provide comments
on the proposed restructuring.
Neighborhood Networks is an initiative launched in 1995 as a
voluntary, communitybased approach to use computer technology
to empower residents of HUD assisted and insured Multifamily housing
to become more selfsufficient, employable and economically
selfreliant. HUD's role has been to encourage property
owners, managers and residents to establish computer learning
centers to link residents to public and private organizations
for jobrelated, educational and other community purposes.
HUD Field Office staff also provided technical assistance and
clarified that certain project resources are available to help
the centers. Obviously, Neighborhood Networks has communitybuilding
aspects as well as welfaretowork implications that
can help communities empower themselves to meet their local needs
and reduce the isolation of lowincome groups within the
Marketing and outreach activities
Single Family has established Marketing and Outreach Divisions
in each of its Homeownership Centers to promote the broad spectrum
of programs available for firsttime homebuyers and other
underserved populations in the purchase of decent, affordable
housing. In addition, there will be staff outstationed in most
sites previously having a Single Family office. The Marketing
and Outreach positions were created expressly to maintain contact
with local communities so that Single Family could tailor its
programs to match the needs of the individual communities.
The Department recently completed three evaluations related to
community empowerment. These include evaluations of the Community
Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and the HOME program, which
is the new housing block grant program. The third evaluation,
"The Status and Prospects of the Nonprofit Housing Sector,"
discusses empowerment through the institutions of non-profit organizations.
The Office of Policy Development and Research will continue to
conduct evaluations related to performance measurement. Ongoing
work includes assessments of community empowerment through HOME
and HOPE VI programs. Future evaluations are likely to include
an evaluation of the Community Development Work Study Program.
Linkage to HUD 2020: Management Reform Plan
In order to assist the communities with the issues facing them,
without increasing the levels of bureaucracy that have existed
in the past, HUD will undertake several measures during FY 1998.
One of the major innovations will be to establish a new field
structure consisting of Area Offices with representatives
of all four major program areas and Area Resource Centers (ARCs),
HUD's neighborhood "store-front" service centers. ARCs
will provide customers and communities with access to the full
range of HUD programs and services. State-of-the-art technology
will enable ARC staff to access information, compile data, and
produce materials to address customer needs and communicate with
program staff in hubs, program centers, and offices assigned "back
office" processing responsibilities.
In addition, HUD will:
- Select and train staff as Community Resource Representatives,
responsible for helping customers gain access to the whole range
of HUD services and coordinating with HUD program staff in hubs,
program centers, and Field Offices performing "back office"
- Establish the Economic Development and Empowerment Service,
aligning various job skills and other programs from CPD, PIH and
Programmatically, HUD will:
- Redesign HUD procurement and contracting functions to
ensure accountability while responding flexibly to changing program
- Consolidate economic development and empowerment programs
into the Economic Development and Empowerment Service to improve
focus on community empowerment.
- Use an advanced mapping software system (Community 2020)
that shows communities the impact of HUD funding and activities
in their area.
HUD's ability to empower communities to a large extent hinges
on the resources that poor communities can bring to bear in improving
themselves. A slowdown in the overall economy will result in
unemployment for the vulnerable working poor. A failure to find
jobs for people affected by welfare reform similarly will result
in diminished economic resources in distressed communities.
There are also inherent limitations on HUD's ability to "deliver"
on quantitative goals within block grant programs, which, by their
design, follow a "bottom up" process. Congress set
up the four CPD block grant programs and the competitive homeless
programs to ensure that the Federal Government did not dictate
local policies or priorities. Rather it set up a system for community-based
planning to ensure that local plans and priorities reflected changing
community needs and priorities. We call this "community-based
planning". The Consolidated Plan regulations and the program
statutes upon which they were based provide limited grounds for
rejecting a five year strategic plan or a one-year action plan.
Similarly, the Notices of Funding Availability for the homeless
competitive program ask communities to identify community homeless
needs and priorities with maximum participation by homeless providers
and other groups.
This means, quite simply, HUD cannot set up and deliver realistic
numerical goals on "outputs" for any one given year
for construction of housing, jobs, etc. Further, although HUD
does have authority to sanction a community for failure to implement
its program in a timely manner, we do not have any sanctions for
the failure of a community to carry out HUD's current priorities.
All that can be done is to highlight priority areas of the Department
and encourage lagging communities to improve their performance
in those priority areas.
In addition, factors such as poverty and individual challenges
exacerbate problems that cause people and families to be without
homes. Coordination and collaboration of housing and supportive
services are crucial to breaking the cycle of homelessness. For
some homeless persons, such as the handicapped, the attainable
goal is self-sufficiency to the extent possible.
How annual performance goals support the achievement of this
Through the Consolidated Planning Process, grantees identify
milestones for achievement within the applicable fiscal year.
Within the confines of legislative mandates (see External Factors
above), HUD will coordinate comprehensive, sustainable solutions
to urban problems. Our annual goals include increasing the number
of grantees who use viable milestones with timetables in their
Consolidated/Action Plans and demonstrate progress in improving
locally defined conditions. Ultimately, all communities meet
this goal. In addition, HUD will measure the percentage of milestones
achieved by cities, benchmarking the cities against one another.
See Appendix I for specific performance measures.