23 Aug 2014
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Atlanta a Finalist for $30 Million Choice Neighborhood Grant

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant could support revitalization strategies in neighborhoods throughout the city.

Atlanta a Finalist for $30 Million Choice Neighborhood Grant
Patch Staff Report

The City of Atlanta announced this week that it has been selected as one of six finalists for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant.

The grant, worth $30 million, was created to support strategies to address the transformation of struggling neighborhoods and public or assisted housing communities within the neighborhood. Forty-four applications from around the country were submitted.

“The Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant presents a unique opportunity to continue the positive transformation of the City of Atlanta’s public/private housing communities,” said Mayor Kasim Reed in a news release. “I believe Atlanta already has a well-established track record of restoring our most depressed communities, and hope we can build on that momentum. I’m pleased that we have been selected as a finalist and am committed to working together with AHA to see this to fruition.”

If selected, the city will work with the Atlanta Housing Authority and local organizations to achieve neighborhood revitalization through a comprehensive approach that includes housing, neighborhood and people. Alongside the City of Atlanta, which will serve as the Neighborhood Implementation Lead, the collaboration includes The Integral Group LLC, the Housing Implementation Lead for the former University Homes; AHA, which will serve as the People Implementation Lead; and United Way of Greater Atlanta, the Principal Education Partner.

In 2010, the Atlanta Housing Authority was awarded a $250,000 Choice Neighborhood Planning Grant from HUD to develop a strategy for revitalizing the west Atlanta neighborhood, where the former University Homes public housing site was located. The neighborhood includes Vine City, Ashview Heights and the Atlanta University Center (AUC). The AUC is comprised of four historically black colleges and universities (Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College), which are anchor institutions supporting the transformation.

“The Atlanta Housing Authority could not be more pleased by yesterday’s announcement that we are among the six finalists for HUD’s Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant. Since we received the planning grant in 2010, we’ve been working on a strategy for community revitalization in west Atlanta,” Joy Fitzgerald, interim president and CEO, said in the release. “With community engagement and a tremendous amount of collaboration with the AUC anchor institutions - Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College, along with other partners, we’ve been able to align our strategies and develop a comprehensive transformation plan that focuses on neighborhoods in concert with housing and people. Now, we’re hopeful that our preparation will pay off and that we can secure the funds from HUD to continue advancing the work we’ve started.”

The planning grant process established a shared vision for revitalization among the city, AHA, and other partners and allowed the collaborators to align their strategies for investment to strengthen the neighborhood. The implementation grant will support neighborhood revitalization strategies identified in the neighborhood transformation plan and attract additional community investments, as well as support the revitalization of the former University Homes site, now known as Scholars Landing. As part of the grant application, AHA leveraged $189 million in public and private commitments for investments in the neighborhood.

HUD will conduct a site visit in April to assess AHA’s implementation strategy and community engagement efforts. Recipients of the grant will be announced once all site visits are complete.

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