A child’s place of birth should not determine his or her success. With income inequality growing in the United States, policymakers have begun looking at innovative methods to improve areas with persistent poverty. Read More


Choice Neighborhoods in Action

Last fall, the research section of The Edge discussed HUD’s interim report on baseline conditions in the first five implementation sites for HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative supports the revitalization of struggling neighborhoods that contain distressed public or HUD-assisted housing. Like other Obama Administration place-based initiatives such as Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) and Promise Zones, Choice Neighborhoods is comprehensive and locally driven, engages and leverages resources from a range of stakeholders, and is data and outcome driven. Last month I had the opportunity to visit one of the sites, the Woodlawn Choice Neighborhood in Chicago’s South Side, which received an implementation grant in 2011.

All five of the first Choice implementation sites had begun work when they applied for Choice grants. The idea behind Choice is not for this grant to be the initial spark. Choice grants requires a number of preconditions be met, such as the engagement of local stakeholders who can support this type of work over a long enough horizon to have an impact. Indeed, the grants alone (which average $25.7 million) are not nearly sufficient to transform distressed neighborhoods. The initiative can, however, provide a needed infusion of capital and a process of engagement and planning that acts as a catalyst for revitalization.

A key element of the Woodlawn proposal was redeveloping the 504-unit Grove Parc Plaza, a Section 8 project on a 12 acre site, that had been built as part of urban renewal in the late 1960s but that had quickly fallen into financial trouble and disrepair. By 2006, its REAC score had fallen to 11.

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Statistical Reports
Housing Scorecard for June 2014
Score Card Image

The latest data show progress among key indicators, including a rebound in the sales of new and existing homes after a harsh-weather-induced lull during the previous two quarters. Purchases of new homes surged by 18.6 percent in May--the biggest monthly gain in 22 years (since January 1992)--and rose to their highest level since May 2008.


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