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7/16/2010 Urban Affairs Weekly Newsletter

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

Top News

The President Gives Update on the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf: President Obama spoke Friday on news from the Gulf, where a new cap was fitted over the BP oil well earlier this week. In his remarks the President emphasized that while there may be good news, the work is not done containing the leak, and will not be until the relief wells are finished and functioning. “What we’re trying to do right now is to make sure that the technical folks on the ground are making the best possible decisions to shut this well down as quickly as possible, that we’re standing up the fund so that people are compensated quickly,” he said in his remarks.

President Obama Helps Break Ground on Holland, MI Battery Plant: As part of the Administration’s continuing effort to highlight Recovery Act dollars at work, President Obama traveled to Holland, Michigan to help break ground on a new advanced battery plant. This is the ninth battery plant to start construction as a result of the $2.4 billion in Recovery Act advanced battery and electric vehicle awards the President announced last August. “This is a symbol of where Michigan is going, this is a symbol of where Holland is going, this is a symbol of where America is going,” the President remarked at the event.

Vice President Biden Announces Report on Job and Economic Impact of the Recovery Act: The Vice President was joined by Council of Economic Advisors Chair Christine Romer to unveil the latest quarterly report on the economic impact of the Recovery Act.  The report finds that the Recovery Act is well on track to create 3.5 million jobs by year’s end, having already created between 2.5 to 3.6 million jobs. The report also finds that for every government dollar invested in Recovery Act programs designed to leverage outside capital, private companies and others are co-investing nearly three times as much.

First Lady Michelle Obama Visits Gulf Coast: The First Lady visited Panama City Beach, Florida this week to meet with business and community leaders in the area and reaffirm that the Administration will not rest until the well is capped, the oil is cleaned up, the natural beauty of the region is restored, and the people of the Gulf Coast who have been affected by this tragic, ongoing spill are made whole. In her remarks, the First Lady emphasized that “one of the best ways that fellow Americans can help is to come on down here and spend some money.”

National HIV/AIDS Strategy Aims to Reduce Infection, Improve Care: The Obama Administration, this week, announced its National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The strategy focuses on reducing the number of new infections, increasing access to and quality of care, and reducing HIV-related health disparities. It reflects President Obama’s belief that we must re-focus public attention on ending the domestic HIV epidemic. Implementation of the strategy will be funded in part by $30 million of the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention Fund.

Treasury Secretary Geithner Applauds Passage of  Historic Financial Reform Bill: Following the passage of landmark financial reform legislation this week, U.S. Treasury Department Secretary Timothy Geithner spoke in support of the bill and measures it contains to safeguard the American economy. Geithner praised the work of key Congressmen and Senators that helped make the bill, which will greatly increase consumer protection, a reality. “We are making significant progress in repairing the devastation caused by this crisis; in restoring economic growth; and in rebuilding confidence in the strength and stability of the American financial system,” Geithner said.

Secretary Locke Announces National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship: U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the members of the new National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship this week at a Department of Commerce University Innovation Forum at the University of Michigan. The Advisory Council will help to develop policies that foster entrepreneurship and identify new ways to take great ideas from the lab to the marketplace to drive economic growth and create jobs, a critical part of President Obama's innovation strategy. Members of the council include serial entrepreneurs, university presidents, investors and non-profit leaders.

Department of Health and Human Services Increases Support for HIV/AIDS Care: To support the newly released National HIV/AIDS Strategy and improve access to critical HIV/AIDS prescription drugs, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services this week reallocated $25 million for AIDS drug assistance. The funds will help States reduce and prevent waiting lists for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program and are part of a broader effort to improve the health status of people living with HIV. Further support to HIV-positive patients will be provided by the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, a new health coverage option created by the Affordable Care Act to help those with pre-existing conditions attain insurance.


If You Missed It, Sustainable Communities Live Chat: This week, leaders of the Sustainable Communities Partnership—a collaboration between the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency—sat down with Special Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs Derek Douglas to talk about the partnership’s work and answer questions from Planetizen readers and the online audience.

DOT Does its Part to Keep Kids Moving: On his blog, Fast Lane, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood discusses DOT efforts to help end child obesity, the goal of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” campaign. Secretary LaHood writes on strategies that increase transportation options, encourage physical activity, and connect communities to better food sources, like new planning and funding opportunities developed by the Sustainable Communities Partnership and new funding for circulator bus systems that ease travel to and from grocery stores. “At DOT,” he writes, “we know transportation can be part of the solution, because the way people travel shapes our communities and affects our levels of physical activity.

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 that will be published this summer. The guidance offers advance details regarding the application process to compete for funds through this pilot program.

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 DOT, HUD, 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 applications 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 $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 DOT, HUD, EPA partnership.

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

Upcoming Events

July 19th— Derek Douglas, Special Assistant to the President for Urban Policy, will speak at the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities Monday in Washington, DC on the Obama Administration’s approach to place-based and urban policy.

July 23rd— Alaina Beverly, Associate Director of the Office of Urban Affairs, and Bessy Kong, of the Domestic Policy Council, will speak Friday in Washington, DC at a Community Services Society Forum on how to strengthen urban communities.