Not Just Affordable Housing, but Connections to Neighborhoods

Shelley Poticha, director of HUD’s Office of Sustainable Housing and Community Development, speaking at NACEDA’s annual summit, outlined two main grant programs in HUD’s Sustainable Communities Program and placed a heavy emphasis on how communities address growth at a regional level, and emphasize regional needs.

“Issues of a community don’t stop at the boundaries of that neighborhood. [Regional planning involves] a much more complicated decision-making process that we haven’t necessarily looked at in the past.

Poticha announced that HUD would be issuing NOFAs for two grant programs, a $100 million grant program for regional planning, that aims to help people that are already working in this field to put together a regional housing or transportation strategy, and a $40 million Sustainable Communities Challenge Planning Grant Program that was designed to encourage detailed planning at the neighborhood scale.

Poticha, appearing on a panel, “Integrated Approaches to Building Sustainable Communities,” said the grants were designed to spur engagement ‘from people who are not normally involved in these discussions when it comes to planning on the regional scale.”

“We need to reach out to people in communities who are applying for funds, but we are also trying to help provide support, capacity, and training to help create the government structure to help embrace inclusive discussions on decision making.”

Also appearing on the panel was Beth Cooper, a staff member at the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, who discussed Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-Conn.) Livable Communities Act that would establish two grant programs — one for $400 million over four years for communities, and a Challenge Grant Program to implement sustainable development projects allocating $3.75 billion for grants over three years.

Matthew Brian Hersh served as senior editor at Shelterforce from March 2008 to October 2012. He studied English at Rutgers University and has spent his professional career in journalism, policy, and politics.


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