Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Federal Programs Demonstrate Commitment to the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative

In recent months, the White House has demonstrated its commitment to addressing the complex and interconnected challenges facing distressed neighborhoods throughout the nation. The Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI) – a strategy spearheaded by the White House in 2010 – has fostered collaboration between several federal agencies and coordinated community-based funding opportunities that aim to tackle the struggles associated with concentrated poverty, build community assets and empower residents to participate in the transformation of their own communities.

The federal agencies committed to the NRI include the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice and Treasury. The core NRI programs funded by these agencies include:

The NRI recognizes that local problems require local solutions and that blanket programs and funding opportunities are often inflexible, making comprehensive revitalization with a community quite difficult to achieve. In response, NRI uses interagency collaboration to design and implement community-focused funding opportunities that are interdisciplinary, locally-led and flexible. This approach has resulted in a set of key elements that the NRI views as critical to a promising community revitalization strategy:

  • Resident Engagement and Community Leadership 
  • Strategic and Accountable Partnerships
  • A Results and Data-Driven Focus 
  • Organizational Capacity 
  • Alignment of Resources 

In addition to being crucial components of the NRI programs, these elements are core capacities that the Center for the Study of Social Policy believes are imperative to an effective and sustainable community change initiative that improves the well-being of all residents.

In recent months, the federal agencies committed to the NRI strategy have announced funding for these programs and made apparent the need to align such funding with a set of interrelated solutions and develop a system of integrated support for communities. As the NRI strategy moves forward, federal agencies have created incentives for communities to apply for funding from more than one NRI program. For example, recognizing the need to transform housing and improve educational and developmental outcomes for children, the 2012 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant has set aside four awards for communities that have received a Promise Neighborhood Planning Grant. Similarly, according to the 2011 Promise Neighborhood Implementation Grant notice, the Department of Justice intends to provide supplemental funding opportunities to 2011 Implementation Grantees that have proposed addressing public safety concerns in their overall revitalization strategy. Each of the NRI programs makes clear the commitment the federal agencies have made to working together in order to coordinate their support, reduce barriers to effective implementation and leverage federal resources for distressed communities.

Stay tuned to our blog for future funding opportunities that are part of the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative.

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