Wednesday, April 4, 2012

White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities

Last summer, the Obama Administration announced the Strong Cities, Strong Communities program (SC2) – a federal initiative that removes federal agency silos by building partnerships between federal government officials and local stakeholders in order to strengthen communities that have faced significant barriers to economic growth. Launched in July 2011, six cities across the nation are participating in the first pilot of the SC2 Initiative. A list of the cities, as well as more information about the key components of the SC2 program, can be found here.

This month – which marks the six-month anniversary of the SC2 initiative – President Obama announced the White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities. This council will recommend to the President policies and programs that can help strengthen local economies and the capacity of communities by building partnerships between local leaders and the federal government. This Council continues to build on the Obama Administration’s focus of building collaborative relationships that will help distressed communities leverage funding, navigate federal resources, develop economic growth plans and work in partnership with the federal government – all critical goals of the SC2 program. In a statement released by the White House, mayors from two of the pilot cities – Fresno and New Orleans – expressed their enthusiasm for SC2 and the program’s focus on collaboration and strong partnerships that have helped these cities breakthrough federal agency silos and make the most of local resources.

The White House Council on SC2 is based at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and includes representatives from 19 federal agencies. According to the White House, the Council intends to build a knowledge base that can be used to expand the SC2 program to several new cities throughout the nation.

The SC2 program appears to be an innovative cross-agency and collaboration-focused initiative that has the potential to effectively address regional and local challenges for distressed communities. Please stay tuned to our blog for future updates about the SC2 program.

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