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7/2/2010 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 Speaks on the Importance of Immigration Reform: This week, the President delivered a speech on the need for comprehensive immigration reform. His remarks focused on the need for increased accountability and responsibility from the government, from businesses, and from individuals to repair our broken immigration system. The President called on the government to secure the borders, businesses to require workers to have proper documentation, and those here illegally to do right by the laws of this country. 

The President Convenes Bipartisan Meeting on Energy and Climate: President Obama sat down with Senators from both parties to discuss the importance of new energy and climate legislation. In his remarks, the President emphasized the role of government in bringing about a full transition to clean energy and that incentives need to be put in place to catalyze change, lodging his support behind policies that would increase corporate responsibility for pollution.

The Vice President’s Visit to the Gulf Coast: Vice President Joe Biden traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana and Pensacola, Florida this week to survey ongoing cleanup efforts to counter the BP oil spill. While there, the Vice President met with residents, local leaders, and members of the federal response team. The visit was part of the Administration’s ongoing response effort, which has focused both on environmental recovery and on providing economic assistance to those affected residents.

Private Sector Employment Grows for Sixth Straight Month: June’s employment report, released Friday, showed continued evidence of economic recovery. Though total payroll employment fell by 125,000 jobs as temporary census assignments ended, growth in the private sector continued, adding 83,000 jobs this month. The unemployment rate fell to 9.5%.  Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Christina Romer writes that the Administration continues to focus on accelerating job growth through targeted measures that increase aid to small businesses, state services, and the unemployed.

Introducing Helping You Understand Your Options: This week the Administration announced the launch of, a user-friendly website designed to inform consumers of their rights and benefits under the Affordable Care Act.  The site will also ease the task of shopping for health insurance by providing a single place to compare health plans available in your area. According to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, “[t]hrough, individuals will have more control over their health care as informed and empowered consumers.”

HUD Supports Thousands of HIV Positive Households At Risk of Homelessness: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced $30.2 million in grants that will continue permanent housing programs for extremely low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS. The funding is part of HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with Aids Program (HOPWA) and will help 1,232 households in 19 states. The funding supports the Administration’s federal strategic plan to end homelessness; 40 percent of the households receiving grants have been homeless in the past.

Department of Commerce to Host Innovation Forums: The Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration will host four innovation forums across the country this summer. The forums will engage university leaders and key economic development stakeholders in a discussion of the role of universities in innovation and how to take ideas from the lab to the marketplace to drive economic growth. “Universities have long been a critical driver of innovation in the U.S.,” Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke said. “We are committed to working with university leaders to increase the economic impact of our nation’s investment in research and development to help drive economic growth and job creation.”


Investing in Place Through Policy: Derek Douglas, Special Assistant to the President on Urban Policy, writes on the Administration’s place based policy, which examines and adjusts how federal policy impact places and the people who live there. The policy puts emphasis on comprehensive interagency collaboration and increasing the impact of federal dollars. By concentrating resources, this approach asserts the primacy of place in moving our nation towards more robust social and economic outcomes.

PolicyLink CEO on ”Our Broken Regions - Fixing the Hidden Cause of our Economic Downfall”: PolicyLink CEO Angela Glover Blackwell writes in the Huffington Post on the flawed construction of our communities and the promise of the Sustainable Communities initiative to help regions lay out a smarter, more sustainable, and more inclusive future. The initiative, undertaken by HUD, DOT, and EPA, “tries to think about a community in all of the ways we really live our lives. We aren't just homeowners or renters. We're not just drivers or public transit users. We're not just consumers or sellers. We're all of those things - and our communities should reflect that,” Blackwell writes.

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.

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.

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.

NEW EDA Innovation in Economic Development Competition, Deadline August 27: The Economic Development Administration announced awards for projects that advance innovation, boost competitiveness and create jobs. The award will be given to innovations in regional innovation clusters, commercialization, global export promotion, and green technology.

Upcoming Events

July 7th— The Office of Urban Affair’s Rental Policy Working Group will host “Aligning Federal Rental Policy,” a summit to examine federal rental housing guidelines and standards, this Wednesday.