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3/12/2010 Urban Affairs Newsletter

A weekly look at recent and upcoming events in urban policy from the Office of Urban Affairs.

Each week, please look out for the White House Office of Urban Affairs Newsletter, which provides information related to the Administration’s urban policy initiatives, funding opportunities, featured articles and upcoming events.

Top News

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson: “Environmental Protection is Good for Economic Growth” (Environmental Protection Agency): EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson discussed the agency’s seven key priorities and the strong connection between environmental protection and economic prosperity in a speech at the National Press Club on Tuesday. She urged attendees to “put to rest the notion that economic growth and environmental protection are incompatible.”

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan Visits Baltimore for a Site Visit to City Arts (National Endowment for the Arts): Development in Baltimore’s Station North Arts and Entertainment District moves forward thanks to $2.6 million in Recovery Act funding set aside for affordable housing development. Secretary Donovan spoke at the site of the City Arts development, a complex comprised of 69 rental units that will be targeted to low- and moderate-income artists, with 11 units reserved for non-elderly disabled persons from the Public Housing Waiting List. National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landsman attended the event, commended HUD on this project and noted that “the arts are a force of social cohesion, civic engagement, and economic revitalization.”

U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd Promises to Promote “Smart Growth” Housing Plans (Hartford Courant): On Monday, Senator Dodd (D-CT) “promised that he'll step up his work for a law to promote networks of affordable housing and mass transit.”  Flanked by staff from HUD, DOT and EPA, Dodd told an audience of 250 housing and transit advocates that the “country needs this $4 billion plan to help communities develop ‘smart growth’ plans.” 

Secretary Solis Announces Administration’s Support for Another $2 billion in Training and Youth Employment (Department of Labor): Secretary Solis testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on FY2011 Budget. She presented the department’s fiscal year 2011 budget request and highlighted why the funding is vital to the nation’s ongoing economic recovery. "This administration wants to ensure that investments in job creation will continue until the labor market fully recovers from the economic downturn," said Secretary Solis. "Workers and their families are hurting in these tough economic times. We know that job opportunities and economic security are of utmost importance to Americans."

Treasury Ass’t Secretary for Financial Institutions Michael S. Barr Testifies Before the House Financial Services Committee on the Ability of Community Development Finance Initiatives (CDFI’s) to Serve Lower-Income, Underserved and Minority Communities (Department of the Treasury): “As we seek an economic recovery that reaches communities across America, CDFIs are a critically important piece of our broader commitment to an inclusive recovery.  CDFIs provide capital, credit, and financial services to hard-to-reach communities and underserved populations.  In both rural and urban America, CDFIs are assisting the entrepreneurs and small businesses that are vital engines of economic growth.”


Mrs. Obama Takes on Childhood Obesity (White House): The First Lady has brought attention to America’s grocery-free zones, what she calls “food deserts,” that exist in both poor urban neighborhoods and sparsely populated rural areas. In an effort to make healthy food accessible to all Americans, President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget proposes $400 million in financing to help bring grocery stores to underserved areas and help small shops and corner stores carry healthier items.

Funding Opportunities

HUD Wraps Up the Sustainable Communities Listening Tour (Department of Housing and Urban Development): HUD officials seek input from community stakeholders on how to structure the Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program so as to have meaningful impact on sustainable regional planning.  The final day for additional comments on the Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program is today, March 12th. Please visit HUD’s website.

Investing in Innovation (i3) Program Funds Available (Department of Education): The Department of Education recently announced the availability of the grant application for the highly anticipated Investing in Innovation (i3) Program.  These grants will support local districts and nonprofit organizations—working in partnership with several districts and/or several schools—as they seek to implement educational innovations with promising or demonstrated effective outcomes for students. Competitive grants will be awarded to applicants with a record of improving student achievement and attainment to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on: improving student achievement or student growth; closing achievement gaps; decreasing dropout rates; increasing high school graduation rates; or increasing college enrollment and completion rates.

Energy Efficient Building Systems Regional Innovation Cluster Initiative:  Deadline May 6th (Department of Energy):  This is the first pilot project of the Interagency Regional Innovation Clusters Taskforce (Taskforce). The Taskforce has been charged with developing a model for coordinated federal and regional efforts that foster and use regional innovation clusters to develop sustainable and efficient models for attaining national strategic objectives including creating good jobs, increasing regional gross domestic product and promoting innovation in science and technology.

Drug Free Communities Support Mentoring Program Grants: Deadline April 23rd (Office of National Drug Control Policy): An estimated 15 new mentoring grants will be awarded (up to $75,000 per grant, per year) to drug and alcohol prevention community coalitions from across the nation.

Upcoming Events

March 15th —
WH Office of Urban Affairs Director Carrion will speak at the National League of Cities Diversity Breakfast.

WH Office of Urban Affairs Director Carrion will speak at a press conference at the Foreign Press Center on the World Urban Forum.

The Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau is hosting a series of webinars called “Why is Green Good for Women?” to discuss opportunities for women in green occupations and key reasons for women to seek employment or career advancement in green jobs, including examples from the field.

March 16th  —
WH Office of Urban Affairs Director Carrion will speak at the National League of Cities General Session, alongside Secretary Vilsack, Administrator Mills, and Secretary Locke.

WH Office of Urban Affairs Director Carrion will speak at NDN on the Census, Housing and Education.

March 17th —
WH Office of Urban Affairs Director Carrion will speak to the National Recreation and Parks Association.

March 18th —
WH Office of Urban Affairs Director Carrion will speak at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council annual meeting..

March 22nd-24th —
The Economic Development Administration will host the 2010 EDA Philadelphia Economic Development Regional Training Conference at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. This year’s event is themed "Building Strong Economies through Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness."