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Urban Affairs Newsletter 10-29-2010

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

Top News

President Obama Highlights Treasury Report on Job Creation in Visit to Sheet Metal Factory:
Today, President Obama visited Stromberg Sheet Metal, a medium sized business employing 350 people in Beltsville, Maryland. The President discussed a new report issued today by the Department of the Treasury that details how his proposal to allow businesses and investors to deduct immediately the full cost of most investments will help businesses expand and hire. Under the President’s proposal, a business like Stromberg would be able to take advantage of this proposal to invest in new equipment this year or next year and deduct 100 percent of that investment immediately. 

DOT Announces 54 High-Speed Rail Projects: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that 54 high-speed rail projects in 23 states will share $2.4 billion to continue developing America’s first nationwide program of high-speed intercity passenger rail service. The money is being awarded for construction of track and stations, purchase of new passenger equipment, and planning studies. The Department's Federal Railroad Administration received 132 applications from 32 states totaling $8.8 billion, more than three times the $2.4 billion available. “States understand that high-speed rail represents a unique opportunity to create jobs, revitalize our manufacturing base, spur economic development and provide people with an environmentally friendly transportation option,” said Secretary LaHood.

EPA & DOT Announces Historic Gas and Fuel Efficiency Standards: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation today announced the first national standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and buses. The engine and vehicle standards would start in 2014 and achieve a 10 to 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption by 2018. The agencies estimate that the national program would provide $41 billion in net benefits over the lifetime of model year 2014 to 2018 vehicles.

HUD Releases Housing October Scorecard; Recovery Continues: The Department’s of Housing and Urban Development and the Treasury today released the October edition of the Obama Administration's Housing Scorecard; a comprehensive report on the nation’s housing market. The scorecard shows that the recovery in the housing market continues to remain fragile, but also highlights the positive impact of the Administration’s unprecedented recovery efforts. Since April of 2009, record low interest rates have helped more than 7.1 million homeowners to refinance, resulting in more stable home prices and $12.7 billion in total borrower savings.  The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) has allowed more than 3.52 million families to modify the terms of their mortgage.

HHS Announces Funds for Community Health Centers, Expanding Access to Care: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced the availability of up to $335 million for existing community health centers across the country under the Affordable Care Act’s Expanded Services initiative. Of the $11 billion the Affordable Care Act provides for operation and expansion of health centers, $9.5 billion is targeted to creating new health center sites in medically underserved areas and expanding preventive and primary health care services at existing health center sites. This expansion of sites and services will help community health centers serve nearly double the number of patients they do today, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

Funding Opportunities

Choice Neighborhood Planning and Implementation Grants: Deadline Oct. 26
The 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 Departmen of Health and Human Service’s 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
The Department of Housing and Urban Development 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 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 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 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. 

Capital Fund Education and Training Community Facilities Program (CFCF): Deadline Jan 14
The Department of Housing and Urban Development 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.