On July 26, 2023, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge announced the awarding of Choice Neighborhoods Implementation (CNI) Grants totaling $370 million to eight communities throughout the country.
These awards support communities that have undergone a comprehensive local planning process and are ready to implement their “Transformation Plan” to redevelop the neighborhood.
Secretary Fudge made the announcement in Birmingham, Alabama, where she presented a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation (CNI) Grant of $50 million to the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District and the City of Birmingham.
For decades, Birmingham’s Smithfield area was a thriving African American community, replete with creative character.
But several factors led to the community’s decline, beginning with mortgage redlining and racial zoning in the 1930s; the construction of Interstates 65 and 20 in the 1950s, which cut off the area from Birmingham’s Central Business District; and a lack of investment in schools and infrastructure. The Choice Neighborhood plan for neighborhood investment reflects the City of Birmingham and Housing Authority of the Birmingham District’s philosophy of ‘Putting People First’ with input from residents and community stakeholders.
“This investment represents HUD’s commitment to creating new housing for Birmingham residents and communities across the country,” said Fudge.
“When we envision the future of public housing investment, we think of programs like Choice Neighborhoods. These awards promote the innovative collaboration needed to tackle the affordable housing crisis. A community-driven, whole-of-government approach to neighborhood revitalization is what leads to impactful changes in the neighborhoods that need it the most,” she added.
The Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants will help revitalize and transform the distressed public and/or assisted housing and neighborhoods across the country, while also providing residents with services focused on income, health, and education.
The eight new awards have leveraged an additional $3 billion in public and private commitments to make their larger Transformation Plan a reality:
- City of Tucson, AZ $50,000,000;
- Housing Authority of the Birmingham District / City of Birmingham, AL ($50,000,000);
- Housing Authority of the City of Atlanta / City of Atlanta, GA ($40,000,000);
- Lake Charles Housing Authority / City of Lake Charles, LA ($40,000,000);
- Housing Authority of the City Pittsburgh / City of Pittsburgh, PA ($50,000,000);
- Miami-Dade County, FL ($40,000,000);
- Philadelphia Housing Authority / City of Philadelphia, PA ($50,000,000);
- Wilmington Housing Authority / City of Wilmington, DE ($50,000,000).
The CNI Grants fund the creation of new mixed-income housing communities, improve economic development opportunities, and support wide-scale community revitalization efforts that focus on the three areas of “Housing, People, and Neighborhood.”
The new grantees will join a committed group of 44 other Choice Neighborhoods sites nationwide that have collectively invested more than $6.3 billion into historically disinvested communities.
Leadership from HUD visited the communities receiving the awards, to elevate HUD’s commitment to community investment:
- Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman visited Wilmington, DE on August 1;
- Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Richard Monocchio visited Tuscon, AZ on August 2, Pittsburgh, PA on August 3, and Philadelphia, PA on August 4;
- General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Dominique Blom visited Atlanta, GA on August 3;
- Regional Administrator Candace Valenzuela visited Lake Charles, LA on August 3; and
- Assistant Deputy Secretary for Field Policy and Management Michele Perez visited Miami, FL on August 2.
Photo courtesy of the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District.