Sunday, August 8, 2010

Federal Strategies to Reduce Poverty through Neighborhood Change

A recent White House Office of Urban Affairs blog post, reaffirms the need for federal leadership to increase the coordination and collaboration needed to ensure that distressed communities have the resources to develop and implement poverty-reduction solutions. A new Neighborhood Revitalization Working Group, led by HUD, the Department of Education, DOJ, HHS, and the Treasury have been charged with this task. This group will be working to integrate housing, education, justice, and health programs with the overarching goal of "transforming neighborhoods of concentrated poverty into neighborhoods of opportunity."

In a prior post, we highlighted the Obama Administration's new focus on place-based initiatives. As we move beyond ARRA and other short-term strategies to address the current recession, it will be important to track the investments being made to address poverty in the long-term. The recent Urban Institute brief, Reducing Poverty and Economic Distress after ARRA: Potential Roles for Place-Conscious Strategies, highlights the role that place-based interventions must play in reducing poverty. As the brief discusses, this requires comprehensive strategies that seek to create opportunity rich communities, including:
  • neighborhood redevelopment strategies that focus on improving distressed neighborhoods through investments in housing, jobs, or social services (Choice Neighborhoods and the Promise Neighborhoods Initiative are examples of this strategy);
  • mobility policies that aim to help poor families move to better communities through housing assistance; and
  • a regional equity perspective that ensures that all neighborhoods are linked to regional growth opportunities (Sustainable Communities is an example of this approach).
We will continue to track opportunities for place-based work, particularly as the federal budget is being finalized.

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