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10/8/2010 Urban Affairs Weekly Newsletter

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

Top News

One Week Later, Nearly 2,000 Small Businesses Approved for SBA Loans Due to Jobs Act: Late Tuesday, just a week after President Obama signed the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, nearly 2,000 small business owners who had been waiting for SBA-backed loans were approved and will soon have those loan funds – totaling nearly $1 billion – in hand. The Jobs bill provides a second round of funding for the successful Recovery Act initiative that took $680 million in taxpayer dollars and turned it into nearly $30 billion in lending support to about 70,000 small businesses.

President Obama Announces Skills for America’s Future: This Monday, at a meeting, of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB), President Obama announced the launch of Skills for America’s Future, a new, industry-led initiative to dramatically improve industry partnerships with community colleges and build a nation-wide network to maximize workforce development strategies, job training programs, and job placement. Leading companies such as PG&E, Gap Inc., McDonald’s, United Technologies and Accenture have already committed to the initiative and support the President’s goal of 5 million additional community college degrees and certificates awarded by 2020. “We want to make it easier to connect students looking for jobs with businesses looking to hire”, said the President. “We want to help community colleges and employers create programs that match curricula in the classroom with the needs of the boardroom”.

Federal Agencies Host National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention: The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education lead the official launch of an Administration wide National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention. Participating cities have pledged to develop or enhance comprehensive and innovative plans to prevent youth and gang violence. On Monday and Tuesday, teams from the cities of Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Salinas, and San Jose met to share information and experience about what works in preventing youth and gang violence. These plans will aim to reduce violence, improve opportunities for youth, and encourage innovation at the local and federal levels.

U.S. Department of Education Awards $38.8 Million in Safe and Supportive School Grants: The U.S. Department of Education has awarded $38.8 million in Safe and Supportive School (S3) grants to 11 states to measure school safety at the building level and to help intervene in those schools with the greatest safety needs. Managed by the Department’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, the grant recipients will share findings in collaboration with local educational agencies to improve the learning environment within schools facing the biggest challenges.

HHS Grants Resources to Forty-eight States to Build competitive Health Insurance Marketplaces: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today awarded nearly $49 million to help 48 states and the District of Columbia plan for the establishment of health insurance exchanges. A key part of the Affordable Care Act, starting in 2014, are the health insurance exchanges – new, competitive, consumer-centered private health insurance marketplaces that will allow individuals and small businesses to have the same purchasing power as big employers. These grants of up to $1 million each will give states the resources to determine how their exchanges can best fit their needs.

HUD  Announces  $905.3 Million in Financing to rebuild Hospitals Across the Nation: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced commitments to back the mortgage loans for nine construction and renovation projects through the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Section 242 Hospital Mortgage Insurance Program. The primary purpose of the loans is to increase access to quality care by offsetting the cost of construction and major equipment needed to operate facilities.  By insuring the mortgage loan, FHA is enabling the hospitals to obtain lower cost financing that will save an estimated $370.7 million in interest expense over the life of the loan.

Secretary Locke Announces Recovery Act Investments To Expand Broadband Internet Access : Today U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced 14 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments in a program to increase broadband Internet access and adoption, enhancing the quality of life for Americans and laying the groundwork for sustainable economic growth.  These investments, totaling $206.8 million in grants, will help bridge the technological divide, create jobs, and improve education and public safety in communities across the country.


USDA:  Report showcases the importance of urban forests: A new report by the USDA Forest Service, Sustaining America’s Urban Trees and Forests, provides an overview of the current status and benefits of America’s urban forests that affect the lives of nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population. The distribution of urban forests varies from community to community, but most share the same benefits provided by city trees: improved water quality, reduced energy use, diverse wildlife habitats and increased quality of life and well-being for residents.

Funding Opportunities

EDA Space Coast Regional Innovation Cluster Competition: Deadline Oct. 15
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s 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 Oct. 26
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced $65 million in competitive Choice Neighborhoods pilot grants for the redevelopment of both public and other HUD-assisted housing properties. The program 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.

Community Health Centers New Access Points Program: Deadline Nov. 17
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 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 community health delivery sites that will provide comprehensive primary and preventive health care services with the goal of  improving the health of, and decreasing the health disparities that exist within, 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.

HUD Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless Assistance Grants: Deadline Nov. 18
The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development made $1.68 million available through the Continuum of Care (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.

NEW Treasury Grants for Community Development Financial Institutions: Deadline Nov. 19
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) today announced grants providing up to $135 million in Financial and Technical Assistance awards. The awards will support Community Development Financial Institutions which provide affordable financing and related services to low-income communities and populations that lack access to credit, capital and financial services.

HUD Hope VI Grants: Deadline Nov. 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.

NEW Labor Competition for YouthBuild grants: Deadline Dec. 3
The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration announced grants possibly totaling $130 million for the YouthBuild program, an alternative education program that provides classroom instruction and construction skills training to at-risk individuals ages 16 to 24. Awards will be given to organizations that embody the YouthBuild model of balancing in-school learning that ultimately leads to the achievement of a high school diploma or passing the General Education Development (GED) test and construction skills training that prepares youth for career placement. YouthBuild grantees will tap the energies and talents of disadvantaged youth to increase the supply of permanent affordable housing for homeless individuals and low-income families.