This is historical material “frozen in time”. The website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work.

Search form

9/24/2010 Urban Affairs Weekly Newsletter

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

Top News

Six Month Anniversary of Affordable Care, Patient’s Bill of Rights Goes Into Effect: Marking the six month anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama outlined some of the new patient protections that went into effect across the country this week at a backyard townhall in Fairfax, VA. The new regulations, referred to as the Patient’s Bill of Rights, prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions, from placing a “lifetime” dollar limit on most benefits, and from restricting emergency room care. The Patient’s Bill of Rights also provides the right to appeal coverage decisions, enables children to stay on a parent’s insurance until age 26, and ensures that patients can receive preventative care, such as mammogram screenings, at no additional cost. To learn more about your rights under the Affordable Care Act, visit “So all these things are designed not to have government more involved in health care,” President Obama explained. “They’re designed to make sure that you have basic protections in your interactions with your insurance company; that you’re getting what you pay for; that you have some basic measures of protection in interacting with the health care system.”

Small Business Jobs Bill Passes Through Congress: The President’s Small Business Jobs Bill won final passage through Congress this week. The bill will offer relief to small businesses currently under economic strain by providing temporary tax relief measures, permanent raises on loan limits, a $30 billion fund to encourage lending by community banks, as well as a $1.5 billion fund to shore up small-business loan programs at the state level. “The small business jobs bill passed today will help provide loans and cut taxes for millions of small business owners without adding a dime to our nation’s deficit,” said the President. “After months of partisan obstruction and needless delay, I’m grateful that Democrats and a few Republicans came together to support this common-sense plan to put Americans back to work.”

Promise Neighborhood Awards, Investing in Children and Creating Paths Out of Poverty:  U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan awarded 21 Promise Neighborhood planning grants this week to non-profit organizations and institutions of higher education.  The Promise Neighborhood Program is based upon the Harlem Children’s Zone model of engaging an entire community in the educational success of a child. The 1-year grants of up to $500,000 each will enable recipients to plan for a cradle-to-career suite of services that will improve educational achievement and healthy development of children. "I applaud each of the Promise Neighborhood applicants for their leadership," President Barack Obama said. "They are galvanizing their communities to help offer our children a pathway out of poverty. The winners announced today will deliver a broad array of services to help all young people thrive academically, earn their high school diploma, go on to college, and reach for their dreams."

HHS Regulations to Raise Quality of Head Start Programs: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed new regulations this week which would require low performing Head Start programs to compete against each other for funding. The proposed rules would require Head Start grantees to compete for their grants if they fall short of quality benchmarks in classroom instruction, health and safety, financial accountability and integrity. The stricter regulations would also be accompanied by enhanced training and technical assistance initiatives to help Head Start grantees meet the new standards. “Head Start has a critical mission - to help vulnerable children achieve their full potential,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “It is a top priority for the Obama Administration to ensure that the program fulfills that mission by holding programs accountable for classroom quality and high standards of program integrity.”

EDA Invests $532,000 in DC’s Homeland Security Industry Cluster: The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced $532,000 in grants that will support regional planning for the St. Elizabeth’s homeland security economic cluster based in southeast Washington, D.C. Over 60 Department of Homeland Security offices will be consolidated at St. Elizabeth’s, a former federal hospital facility seated on a 150 acre campus in Washington, DC’s Ward 8. The EDA funding will be used to develop a regional economic plan focused on leveraging regional assets, creating thousands of jobs, and increasing GDP for the greater DC, Virginia and Maryland region. The St. Elizabeth’s cluster strategy is a White House Urban Policy interagency initiative supported by the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and working in concert with municipal, regional and federal leadership to harness the unique opportunities that this homeland security cluster affords for the surrounding community and the regional economy.

Commerce Awards $12 Million to Support Innovative Technology: U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the winners of the i6 Challenge, a new $12 million innovation competition led by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The i6 Challenge aims to support the nation’s best ideas for technology commercialization and entrepreneurship in six regions of the country. The winning team from each region will receive $1 million to drive innovative technologies in the medical and bioscience industries to market more quickly by bringing together experts in science and academia with leaders is the public and private sector. “Each of the winners exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit that drives innovation and will help move America forward by increasing our competitiveness around the world.” Locke said. “The i6 Challenge represents a key component of President Obama’s innovation strategy - to move great ideas from the lab to the marketplace to create jobs and economic growth.”


Transforming Distressed Neighborhoods into Neighborhoods of Opportunity: President Obama’s Domestic Policy Adviser and the Director of the Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes penned a blog this week applauding the Department of Education’s Promise Neighborhood program and placing this innovative approach to educational attainment in the context of the Administration’s comprehensive Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI). The NRI is a White House-driven interagency partnership among the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Treasury. “We’re making sure our agencies are working together because we know that neighborhood revitalization can’t happen in silos.” Barnes writes. “We’re taking the broad and integrated approach we know is needed to leverage our resources and increase economic growth and resident well-being in our communities.”

The Cluster Moment: Getting Real About the Economy: In a piece featured in The New Republic, Mark Muro and Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institute Metropolitan Policy Program discuss the phenomenon of regional industry or innovation clusters – geographic concentrations of interconnected firms and industries. The authors share their perspectives on why cluster policies are “back in the mix this fall.”

Funding Opportunities

EDA Space Coast Regional Innovation Cluster Competition, Deadline October 15: The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration has funding available 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.

Choice Neighborhood Planning and Implementation Grants, Deadline October 26: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced $65 million in competitive Choice Neighborhoods pilot grants for redevelopment of both public and other HUD-assisted housing properties. The program also widens the traditional pool of eligible applicants by allowing local governments, nonprofits and for-profit developers that submit joint applications with a public entity to apply. HUD anticipates funding 12-15 Planning Grants with a maximum award of $250,000 each and approximately 2-4 implementation grants at a maximum of $31 million each.

NEW Community Health Centers New Access Points Program, Deadline November 17: The Health Resources and Services Administration seeks applicants for up to $250 million in competitive 2-year grants to support development of New Access Points-- new full-time service community health delivery sites that provide comprehensive primary and preventive health care services to improve health of, and decrease health disparities of, medically underserved and vulnerable populations. Organizations eligible to compete for the 350 awards include public or nonprofit private entities, including tribal, faith-based and community-based organizations.

NEW HUD Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless Assistance Grants, Deadline November 18: HUD made $1.68 million available through the CoC Homeless Assistance Programs, a set of three competitively-awarded programs created to address the problems of homelessness in a comprehensive manner with other federal agencies. CoC programs aim to reduce the incidence of homelessness in Continuum of Care communities by assisting homeless individuals and families move to self-sufficiency and permanent housing. Eligible services include transitional housing, permanent supportive housing and other services to help homeless persons transition from homelessness to living independently, programs providing rental assistance for homeless individuals with disabilities; and programs offering Section 8 rental assistance for moderate rehabilitation of buildings with single-room dwellings, designed for individual use.

HUD Hope VI Grants, Deadline November 22: The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development is seeking applicants for $124 million in grants to transform severely distressed public housing developments. Grant funds may be used for an array of activities, including: demolition of severely distressed public housing; acquisition of sites for off-site construction; capital costs of major rehabilitation, new construction and other physical improvements; and community and supportive service programs for residents, including those relocated as a result of revitalization efforts. It is anticipated that five to six grant awards will be made, with a maximum award of $22 million each.

Upcoming Events

Sept. 27th — Special Assistant to the President for Urban Policy Derek Douglas will deliver remarks at the American Planning Association National Design Professional Summit in Washington, DC.

Sept. 28th—Live Webchat. Join Larkin Tackett, Deputy Director of Promise Neighborhoods, U.S. Department of Education, Luke Tate,  Special Assistant to the Secretary,  U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Thomas Abt, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, and Richard Frank, Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a conversation on the Promise Neighborhoods Program and other federal resources that form the bedrock of the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative. Special Assistant to the President for Urban Policy Derek Douglas will moderate the discussion which will be streamed live on from 3-4PM.

Sept. 29th —Bessy Kong of the White House Domestic Policy Council will deliver remarks at the Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development in Washington, DC.