By Vicki Needham - 03/18/11 06:35 PM EDT
HUD received 119 submissions for planning grants and 42 submissions for implementation grants, the agency said.
The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative expands on HUD’s HOPE VI program by widening the pool of eligible applicants beyond public housing authorities to local governments, nonprofit organizations and for-profit developers, who tend to apply jointly with a public entity.
"The program is aiming to promote a comprehensive approach to transforming distressed areas of concentrated poverty into viable and sustainable mixed-income neighborhoods," according to HUD.
“Today, we turn a new page in the way we tackle intergenerational poverty,” Donovan said Friday during an announcement with Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
Donovan said the nation's educational system can't improve "if we leave a whole generation of children behind in our poorest neighborhoods."
The initiative links "affordable housing with a mix of incomes and uses with quality education, public transportation, good jobs and safe streets."
Choice Neighborhoods is part of the Obama administration’s interagency Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, a collaboration between HUD and the departments of Education, Justice, Treasury and Health and Human Services to support the ability of local leaders from the public and private sectors and attract the private investment needed to transform distressed neighborhoods.
The 17 communities awarded planning grants will use the funding to formulate a plan to change their neighborhoods.
The six finalists for implementation grants have already undertaken the comprehensive local planning process and are ready to move forward on redevelopment.