Wednesday, June 9, 2010

FY 2009 HOPE VI Awards Announced

Last week, six public housing authorities were awarded FY 2009 HOPE VI awards totaling $113.6 million. HOPE VI is a 17 year old HUD program designed “to transform distressed public housing developments into mixed-income communities” by funding the demolition of public housing projects and leveraging additional funding for the redevelopment of those sites into mixed income communities. As HUD introduces the Choice Neighborhoods Program, the HOPE VI Program is shifting scope slightly and may be phased out after the FY 2010 funding round.

Over the last 17 years, HOPE VI Revitalization grant funds have been used for an array of activities, including: demolition of severely distressed public housing; acquisition of sites for off-site construction; capital costs of major rehabilitation; new construction and other physical improvements; costs for mobility counseling and relocation; and community and supportive service programs for residents, including those relocated as a result of revitalization efforts.

Choice Neighborhoods is also part of the FY 2010 HUD budget. You can see our overview of this program this blog by clicking here.

Whereas the focus of HOPE VI has traditionally been addressing the physical deterioration of outdated public housing complexes, Choice Neighborhoods employs a comprehensive community revitalization approach. There are key differences between HOPE VI and Choice that both public housing authorities and others in the housing and community development fields are watching closely. The most significant is that, unlike HOPE VI, public housing authorities are not the only eligible applicant for the Choice Neighborhood Program. HOPE VI has been widely criticized for removing badly needed subsidized housing stock from cities across America. The Choice Neighborhood Program addresses this criticism by implementing a new requirement for one-for-one replacement of all public or HUD-assisted units torn down in a redevelopment. After 17 years of HOPE VI, HUD has some sense of what works. As a result, Choice Neighborhoods has new eligible activities related to partnering with a neighborhood anchor institution and educational partners.

As part of the transition at HUD, this year for the first time applicants for FY 2009 HOPE VI were encouraged to include plans to connect the redevelopment effort with early childhood education programs. In FY 2009, housing authorities in Charlotte, NC, Covington, KY, Dallas, TX, Jersey City and Trenton, NJ, and Memphis, TN all submitted successful HOPE VI applications that incorporated early childhood education programs.

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