Thursday, July 8, 2010

Future Funding Opportunities for Place-Based Community Change

We have already seen the impact that a place-based lens has had on current initiatives supported by the Administration. Sustainable Communities, Choice Neighborhoods, and the Promise Neighborhoods Initiative have all sought to address some of the most pressing issues challenging communities through greater interagency coordination and collaboration and a focus on results. This focus on place-based policies was first documented in a White House memo to federal department agencies and executives last summer, in which the Administration discussed the need for taking a comprehensive look at how federal policies impact local development, local supports available to residents, and the level of coordination and collaboration between agencies. As mentioned in a recent post from the White House Office of Urban Affairs blog, the Administration is embarking on what is now noted as an annual review of federal programs impacting place in preparation for the President’s next budget proposal. In this second White House memo (June 21, 2010), the Administration renews its commitment to place, “with a particular focus on strengthening economic growth and achieving greater cost effectiveness.”

Communities should take special note of this emphasis on economic growth and cost-effectiveness as these principles will inform the Administration’s future policy and program priorities. “Economic growth” focuses on helping economically distressed cities and regions and spurring productivity and growth on a sustainable level. “Cost effectiveness” is described as eliminating unnecessary spending and focusing federal resources on what works. Taken together, these principles involve building a strong infrastructure and a skilled workforce; developing effective local and regional partnerships; leveraging resources at the local, state, and federal level; and coordinating programs and policies at the local, state, and federal level. Communities that can make the case that their community change strategies address these principles will be well-positioned to take advantage of future federal funding support.

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