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6/25/10 Urban Affairs Weekly Newsletter

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

Top News

President Obama Looks to Bring Financial Reform Progress to G20 Summit: Following the announcement Friday morning that Congress reached an agreement on a set of Wall Street Reforms, President Obama congratulated the congressional leaders who have brought us one step closer to requiring greater accountability of Wall Street, and to providing greater economic security to Main Street. The President also noted the influence that such measures will have on the health of our global economy. “At the G20 summit this weekend, I’ll work with other nations not only to coordinate our financial reform efforts, but to promote global economic growth while ensuring that each nation can pursue a path that is sustainable for its own public finances.”

President Obama Outlines A New Approach to Advancing Development: At the Muskoka G8 Summit, President Obama shared a new approach to advancing development. In his recently released National Security Strategy, the President recognized development as a moral, strategic, and economic imperative for the United States and our partners. He will issue a new policy development directive in the near future which will emphasize fostering the next generation of emerging markets, leveraging the power of research to scale up technologies, building sustainable public sector capacity to meet human needs, and seeking accountability from recipients of aid. 

Obama Administration and Congress Receive Plan to Prevent & End Homelessness: This week, the White House and Congress received Opening Doors: the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, a plan developed by the 19-member U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. The plan builds on existing federal agency partnerships and evidence based strategies to improve the lives of the 634,000 Americans without shelter on a given night.

Administration Works to Create Regional Innovation Clusters: Senior Counselor to the White House National Economic Council and the Small Business Administration Ginger Lew reflected on the Energy Innovation Conference she and other officials attended this week in Omaha. The conference was part of the Administration’s work to empower scientists, business leaders, investors, government leaders, and entrepreneurs to harness American ingenuity and create affordable clean energy and high-paying jobs. 

New Housing Scorecard Shows Market Recovery Efforts Are Working: The U.S. Departments of the Treasury and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) this week introduced a monthly housing scorecard that will indicate the progress of the Administration’s housing recovery efforts. "This scorecard will allow the American people to monitor the Administration's efforts to strengthen the housing market on a monthly basis and hold the government and industry accountable,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said. This month’s scorecard revealed that efforts to stabilize the market and increase affordability are showing signs of success.

Department of Justice Announces $300,000 in Justice Assistance Grants: The U.S. Department of Justice awarded 16 local governments $300,000 in grants this week to prevent and control local crime and improve their criminal justice systems. The grants, part of the Justice Assistance program, can be used to fund drug and gang task forces, crime and domestic violence prevention programs, and other crime reduction initiatives.

Commerce, SBA Approve More Than $16 Million in Grants for Gulf Region: This week, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke awarded eight grants totaling $10.27 million to the Gulf region. To date the Small Business Administration has approved 101 economic injury assistance loans, totaling more than $6 million for the region’s small businesses. The loans aim to protect existing businesses and create economic development planning and coastal management. Both initiatives are part of the administration-wide commitment to assist those affected by the BP Deep Horizon oil spill and will help the region address the unexpected challenges brought on by this environmental disaster.

U.S. Department of Labor Awards $20 Million for Youth Employment and Training: Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced last week the release of two national grants to help train at-risk youth. The awards were issued to YouthBuild USA and the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps and will support nationwide training opportunities for high school dropouts and young adult offenders between the ages of 18 and 24. Speaking on the grants, Secretary Solis said they “will improve the employment prospects of disadvantaged youth, young adult offenders, and high school dropouts living in high-poverty, high-crime communities who need our support.”

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day: This Sunday is National HIV Testing Day, and President Obama urges the nation to use this day as an occasion to raise awareness of the steps each of us can take as individuals to fight HIV/AIDS. Knowing your status is a powerful step in the battle to prevent transmission of the disease.  “As we mark this day,” President Obama stated, “I would like to renew my call for all Americans to help reduce the risk of infection by getting tested for HIV and learning their HIV status.” In the coming days, the Administration will launch a comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy focused on reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to care, and reducing HIV-related health disparities.


Nan Roman Applauds Plan to End Homelessness, Government Collaboration: President of the National Alliance to End Homelessness Nan Roman wrote in the Huffington Post this week on the Interagency Council on Homelessness’s Federal Strategic Plan to End Homelessness. Roman praised the plan’s call for an unprecedented level of collaboration among engaged agencies.

Study Shows Foreclosure Crisis Has Shifted Development Back Towards Cities: In an examination of America’s foreclosure epidemic, William H. Lucy—a professor of urban and environmental planning at the University of Virginia—has concluded that the decades-old patterns of suburban growth and urban decline are now being reversed. Increasingly, Lucy found, people with choices and financial resources want to live in cities while real estate activity on the urban periphery has declined sharply.

Urban Policy Director Commends DOT-HUD Collaboration: Derek Douglas, Special Assistant to the President on Urban Policy, writes about the innovative, collaborative grant opportunities that are developing as a result of the Sustainable Communities Partnership between HUD, DOT, and the EPA. Douglas calls the grants “prime examples of President Obama’s broader urban and metropolitan agenda that aims to break down traditional silos and ensure that federal programs and policies across all agencies better respond to the unique needs of specific communities.”

Funding Opportunities

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Choice Neighborhood Pre-Notice: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted the Choice Neighborhood FY 2010 Notice of Funding Availability Pre-Notice to give potential applicants guidance prior to the actual Choice Neighborhoods funding notice, to be published this summer. The guidance offers advance details regarding the application process to compete for funds through this pilot program. 

Livability Funding Opportunity from the Federal Transit Authority, Deadline July 12th: The Federal Transit Administration announces the availability of up to $25.7 million for alternatives analysis projects in support of the Department of Transportation's Livability Initiative. The program grants will fund alternatives analyses or technical work that would advance major transit investments that foster the livability principles outlined by the DOT–HUD–EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

Local and Tribal Government Climate Showcase Communities Grant, Deadline July 26th: The Environmental Protection Agency announced the availability of up to $10 million for the establishment and implementation of climate change initiatives. The grant supports improvements in the environmental, economic, public health, or social conditions of a community and is a product of the partnership between HUD, DOT, and the EPA that encourage smart growth practices.

Tiger II Discretionary Grants Program, Deadline August 23 (Pre-Application July 16th): The Department of Transportation is soliciting application for the "TIGER II" discretionary grant program, a $600 million competitive transportation grant program for surface transportation projects.

New: Sustainable Communities Grants, Deadline August 23 (Pre-Application July 21st): The U.S. Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development have joined together to award up to $75 million in funding – $35 million in TIGER II Planning Grants and $40 million in Sustainable Community Challenge Grants – for localized planning activities that ultimately lead to projects that integrate transportation, housing and economic development.

New: HUD Sustainable Regional Planning Grant, Deadline August 23: The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development is seeking applicants for their newly developed $100 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program. The program is designed to create stronger, more sustainable communities by connecting housing to jobs, fostering local innovation, and building a clean energy economy. The grant is part of the EPA, DOT, HUD partnership.

Upcoming Events

June 28th
The Interagency Task Force on Small Business Federal Contracting Opportunities will host a Small Business Federal Contracting Forum at the U.S. Department of Commerce on Monday at 1 PM. Co-chaired by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Office of Management and Budget, the Task Force invites public and private sectors to offer their views on increasing small business participation in the Federal marketplace. 

June 30th
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and the U.S. Department of Commerce are seeking nominations to the National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise (NACMBE), which advises the Secretary of Commerce on key issues pertaining to the growth and competitiveness of the nation’s Minority Business Enterprises. The nomination period for the NACMBE closes June 30th at 5 PM EST.