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10/22/2010 Urban Affairs Newsletter

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

Top News

President Obama Touts Report on the Importance of Women in the Economy: President Obama held a backyard discussion in Seattle, Washington on the importance of women in the economy. The meeting follows the release of a new report from the President’s National Economic Council finding, among other new trends, that an increasing number of women are the primary breadwinners for their families. The report highlights the distinct economic challenges facing women and details the President’s commitments to equal pay, workplace flexibility, and nearly doubling the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for middle-class families.

Partnership for Sustainable Communities Awards Grants to Build Infrastructure Nationwide: Administration officials gathered at the National Press Club this week to highlight the $409.5 million in recent grants by the inter-agency Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The Partnership - which consists of the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - builds economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, transportation, and more. Last week, agencies began releasing local grants to support sustainable living nationwide. "We want to make sure that when we're building infrastructure, we're considering how housing, transportation, and the environment all impact each other,” President Obama said in a statement.

President Obama Calls on Congress to Keep the American Opportunity Tax Credit
President Obama hosted a group of students in the Oval Office whom all attend college with the help of the American Opportunity Tax Credit - a college tuition tax credit worth up to $2,500 a year. The President called on Congress to make the tax credit permanent so 12 million more students from working families will have a chance to earn a college degree.  The American Opportunity Tax credit is part of the 90% increase in tax credits for education that families saw within the first year of the Obama Administration. “Cutting back on education would amount to unilateral disarmament,” said the President.  “We can’t afford to do that.  The nation that educates its children the best will be the nation that leads the global economy in the 21st century.” 

Holder Announces $110 Million for Reentry Programs that Reduce Spending on Corrections
Speaking at the European Offenders Employment Forum Attorney General Eric Holder announced $110 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 funding for the Second Chance Act reentry grants and the Justice Reinvestment Initiative. These two efforts focus on reducing recidivism rates and state and local spending on corrections through the use of evidence-based, smart-on-crime approaches implemented by state, local, tribal and non-profit partners.

Secretary LaHood Announces More Than 70 Transportation Projects Funded Under TIGER II:
Forty-two capital construction projects and 33 planning projects in 40 states will share nearly $600 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s popular TIGER II program for major infrastructure projects ranging from highways and bridges to transit, rail and ports. Roughly 29 percent of TIGER II money will go to road projects, 26 percent for transit, 20 percent for rail projects, 16 percent for ports, four percent for bicycle and pedestrian projects and five percent for planning projects. Using merit-based evaluation criteria allows the Department of Transportation to address some of the nation’s most critical challenges like sustainability and economic competitiveness. “These are innovative, 21st century projects that will change the U.S. transportation landscape by strengthening the economy and creating jobs, reducing gridlock and providing safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable transportation choices,” said Secretary LaHood. HHS Announces New Affordable Care Act Grants for Consumer Protection

HHA Announces New Affordable Care Act Grants for Consumer Protection: Secretary Sebelius announced new Consumer Assistance Grants program awards of nearly $30 million to help 35 states enforce the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections. Specifically, these grants will make fund state and non-profit efforts to increase access to reliable healthcare by educating consumers on their new rights, help file appeals, and track consumer complaints to help identify problems and strengthen enforcement. “These grants will help ensure consumers’ rights are protected, and they are another way the new law is putting patients, not insurance companies, in charge of their health care,” said Secretary Sebelius. 

Secretary Duncan Announces $27 Million Ready-to-Learn Television Program Grants:  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced three awards totaling $27 million for projects to improve educational opportunities for young learners through innovative technology. Grants will be used to develop and deliver high-quality, age-appropriate, educational content to increase the early literacy and mathematics skills of young children age two through eight years old. The five-year grants were awarded to three public telecommunications entities that will offer services across the nation. “These grants will surround young children with a variety of innovative media to equip them with early literacy and numeracy skills to prepare them for success in school,” said Secretary Duncan.


National Economic Council: Women and the Economy
The National Economic Council released a report this week on Job’s and Economic Security for America’s Women. The report lays out the economic landscape facing women today and details some of the many ways the administration is committed to making sure the government is working for all Americans especially American women.

Funding Opportunities

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 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.

Community Health Centers New Access Points Program: Deadline Nov. 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.

HUD Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless Assistance Grants: Deadline Nov. 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.

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 providing 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. 

 Labor Competition for YouthBuild grants: Deadline Dec. 3
The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration announced grants possible 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 give to organizations that embody the YouthBuild model of balancing in school learning that 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. 

NEW Capital Fund Education and Training Community Facilities Program (CFCF): Deadline Jan 14
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is offering $35 million to public housing authorities to develop facilities that will provide early childhood and adult education, and/or job training programs for public housing residents. The maximum grant award is $5 million.