Office of Urban Affairs Blog

  • Open for Questions: Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative

    Tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. EDT, the White House Office of Urban Affairs is hosting a live chat on the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative to support the transformation of distressed neighborhoods into neighborhoods of opportunity.

    Last week, the Department of Education announced a total of $10 million in awards to Promise Neighborhoods, a cornerstone of the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative. Tomorrow, join representatives from across agencies for a dialogue on the Promise Neighborhoods Program and the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative.

    Join the conversation with Larkin Tackett, Department of Education; Luke Tate, Department of Housing and Urban Development; Thomas Abt, Department of Justice; and Richard Frank, Department of Health and Human Services; moderated by Derek Douglas, White House Domestic Policy Council. 

    • Submit your questions in advance over at Next American City by 10:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, September 28
    • Watch and discuss the live chat on WhiteHouse.gov and Facebook on Tuesday, September 28 at 3:00 p.m. EDT

    Learn more about the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative:

  • 9/24/2010 Urban Affairs Weekly Newsletter

    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 www.WhiteHouse.gov/HealthReform. “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.”

    Featured

    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 www.whitehouse.gov 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.

  • 8/20/10 Urban Affairs Weekly Newsletter

    Top News

    President Obama Touts American Innovation, Manufacturing in Wisconsin: On a trip to Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, this week, the President visited the ZBB Energy Corporation, where advanced zinc bromide flow batteries and intelligent control platforms, are manufactured.  The batteries and platforms are crucial components of a smart energy grid and expanding the commercialization of electric vehicles and allow users to cut costs by shifting energy use to off-peak hours and bank intermittent sources of energy like the sun and wind for future use. ZBB Energy Corporation is using $1.3 million in Recovery Act State Energy Program loans to fund a $4.5 million factory renovation to triple their capacity to manufacture flow batteries and power systems, which has allowed them to retain and hire new workers.

    The President Calls on Congress to Put Small Business Assistance to a Vote: After visiting small businesses and talk with small business owners around the country this week, President Obama delivered remarks calling on the partisan minority in Congress to stop blocking legislation that would make loans more available and cut taxes for small businesses. “I have been adamant about this because small businesses are the backbone of our economy.  They create two out of every three new jobs in this country. And while a lot of big businesses and big banks have started recovering from this recession, small businesses and community banks that loan to small businesses have been lagging behind.  They need help.  And if we want this economy to create more jobs more quickly, we need to help them.”

    Vice President Biden Announces Broadband Projects to Expand Economic Opportunity: Vice President Biden, this week, announced $1.8 billion for Recovery Act investments in broadband projects that will create jobs and expand economic opportunities in 37 states.  These investments in high-speed Internet infrastructure will help bridge the technological divide in communities left in the 20th century economy and support improvements in education, healthcare, and public safety. “The awards are another great example of how the Recovery Act is creating jobs upfront, while also building a foundation for sustainable job creation and global competitiveness,” the Vice President said.

    Over 8,000 Affordable Homes Become Energy Efficient With Recovery Act Retrofit Awards: U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that 100 affordable housing developments around the country, including 8,112 homes, have been awarded more than $100 million to complete energy efficient renovations with Recovery Act funds. These renovations will not only make necessary upgrades to thousands of affordable apartments, but will also create jobs and save money for residents. The awards are part of HUD’s Green Retrofit Program for Multifamily Housing, created for the first time through the Recovery Act. The program provides $250 million nationally to reduce energy costs, cut water consumption, and improve indoor air quality. The 100 awards announced this week will create an average energy savings of $33,000 per property, or $3.3 million annually.

    DOT Sees Overwhelming Response of States Seeking High-Speed Rail Funding: U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced this week that the Federal Railroad Administration has received 77 applications from 25 states for the most recent round of High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail grant funding. The funding will support high-speed rail corridor development programs and smaller, individual projects within rail corridors that are ready to begin construction. “The response to our call to transform America’s transportation landscape has been tremendous and shows the country is ready for high-speed rail,” Secretary LaHood said.  “We have received strong bi-partisan support for President Obama’s bold initiative that will enhance regional mobility, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, ease highway and airport congestion and reduce our carbon footprint.”

    Secretary Locke Announces $31.3 Million for Restoration and Recovery in Louisiana Gulf: During his third visit to the Gulf Coast since June, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, this week, announced $31.3 million in coastal restoration and economic development grants for Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. The grants will fund the restoration of a critical barrier headland that protects vital bay and wetland habitats and the deployment of 21 Assessment and Evaluation teams to communities affected by the BP oil spill in the Gulf. Speaking on the funding Secretary Lock said, “These grants are another sign of this administration’s commitment to help the Gulf Coast’s economy and environment recover in the wake of the BP oil spill.”

    Treasury Announces $104.8 Million to Expand Access to Capital in Underserved Areas: This week, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund announced $104.8 million in awards for 179 local financial institutions serving struggling communities in 44 states and the District of Columbia. These grants will help financial institutions support local entrepreneurs and small businesses and spur local economic growth and recovery by expanding access to capital and affordable financial services in underserved areas.  The grants represent the largest single round of awards in the CDFI Fund’s history.  “CDFIs play a critical role financing small businesses and providing access to capital where it is needed most,” said Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios. “The awards we are announcing today will provide critical support to local financial institutions, which are on the front lines creating jobs and economic opportunity in communities across the country.”

    Featured

    Urban Update, Regional Innovation Clusters: Barry Johnson, Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Agency, writes on the efforts of the White House Regional Innovation Cluster Working Group. The group works to develop collaborative federal funding streams in an effort to make coordinated, flexible, and regionally-customized investments in places to obtaining maximum return on a region’s unique economic assets and competitive strengths.

    Foreign Policy, Beyond City Limits: In an article in Foreign Policy, Parrag Khanna writes on the new urbanized era and the increasing power of cities around the world. Khanna writes, “…cities are the real magnets of economies, the innovators of politics, and, increasingly, the drivers of diplomacy. Those that aren't capitals act like they are…This new world of cities won't obey the same rules as the old compact of nations; they will write their own opportunistic codes of conduct, animated by the need for efficiency, connectivity, and security above all else.”

    Funding Opportunities

    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Choice Neighborhood Pre-Notice: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted the Choice Neighborhood FY 2010 Notice of Funding Availability Pre-Notice to give potential applicants guidance prior to the actual Choice Neighborhoods funding notice that will be published this summer. The guidance offers advance details regarding the application process to compete for funds through this pilot program.

    Tiger II Discretionary Grants Program, Deadline August 23: The Department of Transportation is soliciting applications for the "TIGER II" discretionary grant program, a $600 million competitive transportation grant program for surface transportation projects.

    Sustainable Communities Grants, Deadline August 23: The U.S. Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development have joined together to award up to $75 million in funding–$35 million in TIGER II Planning Grants and $40 million in Sustainable Community Challenge Grants–for localized planning activities that ultimately lead to projects that integrate transportation, housing, and economic development.

    HUD Sustainable Regional Planning Grant, Deadline August 23: The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development is seeking applicants for their $100 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program. The program is designed to create stronger, more sustainable communities by connecting housing to jobs, fostering local innovation, and building a clean energy economy. The grant is part of the DOT, HUD, EPA partnership.

    EDA Innovation in Economic Development Competition, Deadline August 27: The Economic Development Administration announced funding 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.

    Upcoming Events

    August 25th —Alaina Beverly, Associate Director of the Office of Urban Affairs, will participate in a meeting on Global Sustainable Urban Development Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

  • Urban Update: Regional Innovation Clusters

    Today you’ll find few who will deny that we live in a time defined by economic challenges. Though the Obama Administration has made strides in the last year to spur recovery and build a new foundation for America’s long term prosperity, too many families are still faced with the reality of unemployment or underemployment despite exhaustive job searches. It is clear that the difficulties faced today by citizens across the country require that we find innovative solutions, take new approaches, and seize on economic opportunities that have previously been overlooked.

    Inter and intra-regional competition – where one area recruits a business or industry from another area—only leads to a zero sum gain over time.  Robust regional economies that are innovating and high performing enhance our ability to compete in the global economy, while improving job opportunities and quality of life for communities.

    The Obama Administration is looking for ways to support the unique competitive advantages of regions across the country in order to drive forward industry and get America moving again. The White House’s Regional Innovation Clusters Working Group brings together seven different agencies—including the Economic Development Agency at the Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, and the Departments of Education, Energy, and Labor— to do just that. 

    The Regional Innovation Clusters Working Group is developing collaborative federal funding streams in an effort to make coordinated, flexible, and regionally-customized investments in places thereby obtaining maximum return on a region’s unique economic assets and competitive strengths.  We see economic cluster strategy as part of the bedrock of the new foundation for American prosperity. 

    Regional Innovation Clusters are geographic concentrations of firms and industries that do business with each other and have common needs for talent, technology, and infrastructure.  Clusters make full use of a region’s unique assets, from infrastructure to workforce to available capital, to increase collaboration and create a climate for businesses to grow and thrive.  Innovation clusters build on existing industry and resources, foster creative environments that encourage knowledge sharing and tailored training and educational activities, and anchor jobs to an area rather than shipping jobs overseas.

    We know that this cluster strategy works. From well known places like Silicon Valley and the Research Triangle in North Carolina to lesser known places like Dayton’s Tech Town, Tuscon’s Arizona Bioscience Park, and the Middle Georgia Economic Alliance, clusters are helping to connect disenfranchised communities to career and educational opportunities, secure higher paying jobs in regions, and stabilize regions.

    The White House Regional Innovation Cluster Working Group issued a joint notice of funding availability early this year, providing up to $129.7 million over five years to create an Energy Regional Innovation Cluster (E-RIC).  The E-RIC will be an energy efficiency cluster that will focus on developing new technologies to improve the design of energy-efficient building systems.  The award will be announced in the fall, but it is only the beginning.

    We will soon see more collaborative federal approaches to foster local and regional partnerships around economic development and innovation in areas like health, agriculture, defense and more.  The Administration is laying a new foundation for economic prosperity based upon regional strengths that will enhance our nation's global economic competitiveness and create sustainable, 21st century jobs for long term growth.

    Barry Johnson is the Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Agency

  • 8/13/10 Urban Affairs Weekly Newsletter

    Top News

    The President Speaks on Higher Education, Lifting Graduation Rates in Austin, TX: President Obama traveled this week to the University of Texas at Austin to speak on his commitment to improving the American education system and raising graduation rates. Over the course of a generation, the United States fell from first to 12th place in college graduation rates for young adults. In his speech the President touched on initiatives like Race to the Top and eased access to Pell Grants that help make college more attainable for every American. “If we’re serious about making sure America’s workers, and America itself, succeeds in the 21st century, the single most important step we can take…is to make sure that every one of our young people…has the best education that the world has to offer.”

    President Obama Signs the Manufacturing Enhancement Act: The President, this week, signed the Manufacturing Enhancement Act, which will help American companies grow and hire in the manufacturing sector. The act reduces or suspends tariffs that American companies pay on materials for products they manufacture, thereby lowering costs for American businesses and prices for American consumers. Speaking at the bill signing, President Obama said “I’m more determined than ever to do every single thing we can to hasten our economic recovery and get our people back to work.  So that’s why I’m pleased today to sign into law a bill that will strengthen American manufacturing and American jobs.” The manufacturing sector lost 3,864,000 between 2000 and 2008 but has gained 183,000 jobs already this year.

    Administration Announces Additional Foreclosure Support for Unemployed Homeowners: The Obama Administration, this week, announced two targeted foreclosure-prevention programs to help homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments due to unemployment. The U.S. Department of the Treasury will make $2 billion of additional assistance available through the Housing Finance Agency Innovation Fund for the Hardest Hit Housing Markets. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to launch a complementary $1 billion Emergency Homeowners Loan Program to provide assistance to homeowners at risk of foreclosure due to involuntary unemployment, underemployment, or a medical condition.

    Secretary Duncan Applauds Congress for Supporting 160,000 Education Jobs Nationwide: This week the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to provide $10 billion to support an estimated 160,000 education jobs nationwide. The $10 billion fund will support education jobs in the 2010-11 school year. Speaking on the bill passing, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, “with the support of the jobs bill, these educators will be helping our children learn instead of looking for work. This is the right thing to do for our children, for our teachers, and for our economy."

    EPA Announces $200,000 in Environmental Justice Grants for Affected Gulf Communities: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is accepting proposals for projects that will support the protection of human health and the environment in communities affected by the BP oil spill. The grant program will provide funding to help develop educational materials on what seafood is safe to eat, what to do if exposed to oil, and how to address and adapt to the spill’s long-term effects. The funding, which will go directly to local organizations, will help to ensure that information is distributed through trusted networks of communication and from organizations that will continue to support efforts to rebuild in the wake of disaster.

    Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Announces $1.6 Billion in 2010 Census Savings: U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced this week that the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau is returning $1.6 billion in 2010 Census operational savings. In a time of tightened federal resources, the Census came in 22 percent under budget primarily because funding set aside for disasters or major operational failures was not tapped and because both the Census questionnaire mail-back response rate and workforce productivity across field operations beat expectations. “Over the last 17 months, we have worked tirelessly to ensure American tax dollars were being spent wisely…With proficient management, the cooperation of the American public and a little bit of luck, the Census stayed on track with significant cost savings to taxpayers,”  Secretary Locke said.

    HHS Announces Availability of $250 Million in Health Center New Access Point Grants: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced $250 million in grants for New Access Points, sites that will improve delivery of primary health care services to underserved and vulnerable populations.  The grant program, funded by the Affordable Care Act, will open new full-time sites that provide comprehensive primary and preventive health care services and will help decrease health disparities for medically underserved populations. “These funds reflect the Administration’s steadfast commitment to improving and expanding access to vital primary health care services,” Secretary Sebelius said. “From our cities to our smallest towns, each health center has an important role to play, ensuring access to services in its community.”

    Featured

    Forbes Magazine, Obama's Goal for Higher Education: Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wrote this week in Forbes Magazine on the Administration’s focus on improving education and the role of innovation in reaching that goal. “In the era of the knowledge economy, innovation and institutional accountability are the twin paths forward to revitalizing American competitiveness. Colleges and universities should be developing and expanding evidence-based practices to increase access to college, accelerate learning and support success in the workplace and life, even if doing so means moving past traditional methods of scheduling, structuring classes and 20th century academic programs in need of modernization,” Secretary Duncan writes.

    Funding Opportunities

    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Choice Neighborhood Pre-Notice: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted the Choice Neighborhood FY 2010 Notice of Funding Availability Pre-Notice to give potential applicants guidance prior to the actual Choice Neighborhoods funding notice that will be published this summer. The guidance offers advance details regarding the application process to compete for funds through this pilot program. 

    Tiger II Discretionary Grants Program, Deadline August 23: The Department of Transportation is soliciting applications for the "TIGER II" discretionary grant program, a $600 million competitive transportation grant program for surface transportation projects.

    Sustainable Communities Grants, Deadline August 23: The U.S. Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development have joined together to award up to $75 million in funding–$35 million in TIGER II Planning Grants and $40 million in Sustainable Community Challenge Grants–for localized planning activities that ultimately lead to projects that integrate transportation, housing, and economic development.

    HUD Sustainable Regional Planning Grant, Deadline August 23: The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development is seeking applicants for their $100 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program. The program is designed to create stronger, more sustainable communities by connecting housing to jobs, fostering local innovation, and building a clean energy economy. The grant is part of the DOT, HUD, EPA partnership.

    EDA Innovation in Economic Development Competition, Deadline August 27: The Economic Development Administration announced funding 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.

    Upcoming Events

    August 17th —President Obama will travel to Seattle, WA Tuesday where he will talk about strengthening the economy and creating jobs for the families and businesses of Washington State.

  • 8/6/10 Urban Affairs Weekly Newsletter

    Top News

    The President Touts American Made Products, Bolstering American Economy at AFL-CIO: Speaking at the ALF-CIO Executive Council Meeting this week in Washington DC, President Obama discussed the progress that has been made in employment, with millions finding jobs thanks to the Recovery Act, and the length left to go with millions still out of work. The President told attendees, “we are going to rebuild this economy stronger than before, and at the heart of it are going to be three powerful words:  Made in America.” In his speech he pledged to enforce American trade laws, to fight for tax breaks for companies that invest in the United States, and to continue rebuilding America’s infrastructure for the 21st century.

    President Obama Signs the Fair Sentencing Act: This week, President Obama signed into law the Fair Sentencing Act, which reduces the disparity between the amounts of powder cocaine and crack cocaine required for the imposition of mandatory minimum sentences and eliminates the mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of crack cocaine. The law also increases monetary penalties for major drug traffickers. Speaking on the bill signing, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, “the signing of today’s bill into law represents the hard work of Democrats and Republicans…coming together and making progress on something that people had identified as a glaring blight on the law.”

    First Lady Applauds Senate for Passing Child Nutrition Legislation: Following the Senate’s passing of the Child Nutrition bill Thursday, First Lady Michelle Obama issued a statement applauding the efforts of both parties to improve the future of American children. The bill, which provides an additional $4.5 billion over ten years to federal child nutrition programs including school lunches, passed with widespread support from both Democrats and Republicans. The bill also marks the first time in 30 years that the federal government has increased funding for such nutrition programs. “While childhood obesity cannot be solved overnight, with everyone working together, there’s no question that it can be solved -- and today’s vote moves us one step closer to reaching that goal,” the First Lady said.

    July Jobs Numbers Show Continued Private Sector Growth: Christina Romer writes on the newly released jobs numbers for the month of July, which show that private sector employment across the country grew by 71,000 jobs in July, the seventh consecutive monthly increase. Growth varied across industries, employment in manufacturing as well as education and health services increased, while that in financial services and construction decreased. Employment in state and local government, including public school teachers, decreased by 48,000 jobs, underscoring the importance of the additional state fiscal relief working its way through Congress. Overall, the pace of growth was not enough to reduce the overall unemployment rate, which remained 9.5 percent.

    Administration Report: 74% of Oil in BP Oil Spill has been Contained or Mitigated: A report released this week by a panel of government scientists indicates that the vast majority of the oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill has either evaporated or been burned, skimmed, recovered from the wellhead, or dispersed and is in the process of being degraded. The findings reflect the federal government’s aggressive response to the spill.

    Department of Energy Awards $188 Million for Small Business Technology Commercialization: U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced $188 million in awards to more than 200 small businesses to develop prototype or pilot operations for innovative technologies. The awards, from Energy’s Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer office, will help these small businesses develop clean energy technologies that have the potential to be commercialized, ultimately spurring new jobs in their communities. "Small businesses are a major engine of innovation and job creation in our economy," Secretary Chu said.  "Bringing these innovative technologies to market will help spur economic growth and reduce the country's energy use."

    DOT Secretary LaHood Announces $9.7 Million for Innovative Approaches to Congestion: Seven states will share $9.7 million to develop strategies to minimize traffic congestion as part of the Federal Highway Administration's Value Pricing Pilot Program U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced. The program promotes “value pricing,” a strategic way to incentivize and manage traffic flow by applying varying price levels at different times of the day or in response to traffic volume.  The grant will fund innovative strategies like pay-as-you go insurance plans and parking pricing plans in California, Florida, North Carolina, Minnesota, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

    Featured

    Urban Update--Neighborhood Revitalization: Members of the Neighborhood Revitalization Working Group penned a piece this week detailing their work, which aims to integrate housing, education, justice, and health programs with the goal of transforming neighborhoods of concentrated poverty into neighborhoods of opportunity. The group—a collaboration between the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Education, Justice, Health and Human Services, and Treasury—is coordinating key programs like Choice Neighborhoods and Promise Neighborhoods to create more comprehensive support for failing communities.

    New York Times--Welcome to the Recovery: U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner writes on the Nation’s economic recovery and evidence that the country is on a path back to growth. Recent data, like last quarter’s growth in GDP, shows that large parts of the private sector continue to strengthen. “By taking aggressive action to fix the financial system, reduce growth in health care costs and improve education, we have put the American economy on a firmer foundation for future growth,” Secretary Geithner writes.

    Funding Opportunities

    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Choice Neighborhood Pre-Notice: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development posted the Choice Neighborhood FY 2010 Notice of Funding Availability Pre-Notice to give potential applicants guidance prior to the actual Choice Neighborhoods funding notice that will be published this summer. The guidance offers advance details regarding the application process to compete for funds through this pilot program.

    Tiger II Discretionary Grants Program, Deadline August 23: The Department of Transportation is soliciting applications for the "TIGER II" discretionary grant program, a $600 million competitive transportation grant program for surface transportation projects.

    Sustainable Communities Grants, Deadline August 23: The U.S. Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development have joined together to award up to $75 million in funding–$35 million in TIGER II Planning Grants and $40 million in Sustainable Community Challenge Grants–for localized planning activities that ultimately lead to projects that integrate transportation, housing, and economic development.

    HUD Sustainable Regional Planning Grant, Deadline August 23: The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development is seeking applicants for their $100 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program. The program is designed to create stronger, more sustainable communities by connecting housing to jobs, fostering local innovation, and building a clean energy economy. The grant is part of the DOT, HUD, EPA partnership.

    EDA Innovation in Economic Development Competition, Deadline August 27: The Economic Development Administration announced funding 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.

    Upcoming Events

    August 9th—President Obama will travel to Austin, TX on Monday for an education rally at the University of Texas at Austin campus.

    August 12th—Alaina Beverly, Associate Director of the Office of Urban Affairs, will speak on “The Urban Agenda--Domestic and International Opportunities” at a meeting of the Business Civic Leadership Council in Seattle.