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12.3.2010 Urban Affairs Newsletter

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

Top News

President Obama Urges an Extension of Unemployment Insurance: Speaking to a White House meeting for newly elected Governors this week, President Obama urged Congress to extend emergency Unemployment Insurance. Failure by Congress to act on extending unemployment benefits will have stark consequences for Americans this holiday season, according to a new report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers.  The President cited the report’s findings that two million Americans in December alone – and nearly seven million over the course of the next year – will lose the temporary support that helps them keep food on the table and make ends meet while they search for a job if Congress fails to act.  

The First Lady Lauds Passage of Childhood Nutrition Legislation: First Lady Michelle Obama joined children's and health advocates in applauding passage of the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act”. The legislation expands eligibility for school meals programs, establishes nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools and provides a 6-cent increase for each school lunch to help cafeterias serve healthier meals. The bill was a priority for first lady Michelle Obama and her Let's Move! campaign to fight childhood obesity. 

HUD Launches New One-Stop Website for Economic and Housing Data: This week HUD launched a new website that displays an interactive map of the U.S. allowing visitors an intuitive way to seek data in a number of areas of geography – from an entire region down to a particular county. The  website consolidates a wide variety of economic and housing market data from the Census Bureau, Labor Department, State and Local governments, housing industry sources, as well as HUD’s own field economists. The site features a variety of functions to analyze housing markets as well as a “Regional Narratives” tool providing broad overviews of economic and housing market trends within ten regions of the U.S. 

HHS announces the nation’s new health promotion and disease prevention agenda: Secretary Sebelius unveiled Healthy People 2020, the nation’s new 10-year goals and objectives for health promotion and disease prevention. The Healthy People initiative is grounded in the principle that setting national objectives and monitoring progress can motivate action, and indeed, in just the last decade, preliminary analyses indicate that the country has either progressed toward or met 71 percent of its Healthy People targets. More than 8,000 comments were considered in drafting a comprehensive set of objectives ranging from blood disorders to sleep health.

HUD Secretary Donovan announces that Recovery Act Funding Has Prevented or Ended Homelessness for Over 750,000 Americans: Secretary Donovan announced today that homelessness for 750,000 Americans was prevented or ended, thanks to HUD’s Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP), funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The program provided $1.5 billion to local communities to keep families in their homes or help them find other affordable housing after a sudden financial crisis, which might have otherwise led to homelessness.

Department of Energy Announces Technical Assistance Projects to Improve Energy Use in Commercial Buildings: During a live online chat at the White House earlier today, Secretary Steven Chu announced that 24 projects are receiving a total of $21 million in technical assistance to dramatically reduce the energy used in their commercial buildings. This initiative, supported with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will connect commercial building owners and operators with multidisciplinary teams including researchers at DOE's National Laboratories and private sector building experts.  The teams will design, construct, measure, and test low-energy building plans, and will help accelerate the deployment of cost-effective energy-saving measures in commercial buildings across the United States.


Ashoka’s Changemakers: Sustainable Urban Housing Collaboration: Do you have an idea to make cities more sustainable and inclusive? The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of State have partnered with the American Planning Association and the Rockefeller foundation to launch a global competition for new ideas. The Sustainable Urban Housing: Collaborating for Livable and Inclusive Cities competition is being launched in anticipation of the 2012 Summit of the Americas, and in support of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Energy and Climate Partnership for the Americas (ECPA).
Submit your solutions, or nominate a project, in this competition to collaborate on sustainable urban housing for livable and inclusive cities.

Funding Opportunities

DOL Competition for YouthBuild grants Deadline Dec. 3: The Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration announced grants 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. 

Choice Neighborhood Planning and Implementation Grants Deadline Dec 7th: 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.

Capital Fund Education and Training Community Facilities Program 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 for the Capitol Fund Education and Training Community Facilities Program (CFCF) is $5 million.