4/16/10 Urban Affairs Newsletter

Top News

A Bipartisan Meeting on Reforming Wall Street: On Wednesday the President welcomed leaders from Congress of both parties to the White House to discuss the economy, the Supreme Court, and the New START Treaty -- but he promised beforehand that the central focus would be Wall Street Reform.  The President stated, “I am actually confident that we can work out an effective bipartisan package that assures that we never have “too big to fail” again; that consumers are adequately protected when it comes to financial instruments -- whether it’s mortgages or credit cards or debit cards; that we have a strong mechanism to regulate derivatives, something that we have not had, a derivatives market that is in the shadow economy but is enormously powerful, enormously risky -- we want to get that into daylight so that regulators and ordinary Americans know what’s going on when it comes to this huge segment of the financial system.”

President Obama's Earth Day Challenge: President Obama challenged Americans to take action in their homes, communities, schools, or businesses to improve the environment in honor of the upcoming 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, 2010.  In conjunction with the video message of President Obama, the White House unveiled WhiteHouse.gov/EarthDay as a resource guide for all those interested in learning how they can help make a difference in their community.

Geithner Op-ed: ‘How to Prevent America’s Next Financial Crisis’: In a Washington Post op-ed this week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner outlined the urgent need for strong financial reforms, noting that "the American people have suffered through too much to enact reform that does too little."

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Statement on New Health Care Quality, Disparity Reports: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a statement on health care quality and health care disparities faced by racial, ethnic or income groups. Two new reports -  the 2009 National Healthcare Disparities Report and the National Healthcare Quality Report - were released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.  “Today’s reports demonstrate why passing health reform was so critical,” said Sebelius. “In 2009, healthcare associated infections increased and minorities were less likely to have insurance and less likely to get the treatments they needed. In a reformed system, more Americans will get the care they need, regardless of their race or ethnicity and the quality of care will improve. The numbers we saw today are troubling, but ultimately, reform will help turn these numbers around.”

New CEA Report Finds Recovery Act Already Responsible for about 2.5 Million Jobs: A new report released this week by the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) finds that the Recovery Act was responsible for 2.2 to 2.8 million jobs through the first quarter of 2010 – half of which are as a result of the over $200 billion in Recovery Act tax relief and financial assistance that has gone directly to mostly lower and middle-income families.  The report, which is the CEA’s third quarterly analysis on the economic impact of the Recovery Act, shows that Recovery Act tax relief and income supports have had an important impact on real disposable personal income in the last year and are contributing to the program being on-track to create or save 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010.

Obama Administration Seeks Public Input on Reform of the Housing Finance System: The Obama Administration seeks public comment on the future of the housing finance system, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the overall role of the federal government in housing policy. The questions are designed to generate input from a wide variety of constituents, including market participants, industry groups, academic experts, and consumer and community organizations.

Featured

Obama 'Gets' the Importance of Planning, Urban Affairs Official Tells American Planning Association in New Orleans: “America needs to plan its cities more sustainably and cooperatively, and recent federal funding to promote regional planning efforts is an important step toward that goal,” said Adolfo Carrion, Director of the White House Office on Urban Affairs, speaking Tuesday afternoon at the American Planning Association's national conference in New Orleans.

Obama Administration Officials, State and Local Leaders Collaborate on Coordinated Approach to Gulf Coast’s Future: New Orleans Mayor-Elect Landrieu hosted officials from the White House and a dozen federal agencies along with Senator Landrieu, Congressman Cao and other Louisiana officials. These leaders met Sunday and Monday in New Orleans for a series of working sessions focused on policy priorities for the city and the Obama Administration.

Fixing America’s Schools: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will be a featured guest on CNN’s "Fixing America’s Schools."CNN Newsroom anchor Don Lemon will interview Secretary Duncan in a dynamic town hall about reforming America’s schools. Sec. Duncan will answer questions straight from parents, teachers and students in Atlanta on the realities they face everyday ranging from school facilities and safety to standardized testing.  The show will air on Saturday, April 17 at 7 p.m. EDT and Sunday, April 18 at 6 p.m. EDT.

Community Colleges: Our Work Has Just Begun: Dr. Jill Biden is featured in a current article published by The Chronicle of Higher Education where she highlights her work as a community college instructor, her passion for access for all to higher education, and the Obama Administration’s commitment to community colleges.

Funding Opportunities 

Drug Free Communities Support Mentoring Program Grants, Deadline April 23rd: An estimated 15 new mentoring grants will be awarded (up to $75,000 per grant, per year) to drug and alcohol prevention community coalitions from across the nation.

U.S. Labor Department Announces Grant Competition to Serve Homeless Veterans, Deadline April 26th: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service has announced an $8.3 million grant competition to provide job training, counseling and placement services (including job readiness, and literacy and skills training) to expedite the reintegration of homeless veterans into the labor force through its Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.

Community-Based Job Training Grants, Deadline April 29th: The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration announced the availability of approximately $125 million in funds for Community-Based Job Training Grants. Community-Based Job Training Grants will be awarded through a competitive process to support workforce training for high-growth/high-demand industries through the national system of community, technical and tribal colleges.

Energy Efficient Building Systems Regional Innovation Cluster Initiative, Deadline May 6th: This is the first pilot project of the Interagency Regional Innovation Clusters Taskforce (Taskforce). The Taskforce has been charged with developing a model for coordinated federal and regional efforts that foster and use regional innovation clusters to develop sustainable and efficient models for attaining national strategic objectives including creating good jobs, increasing regional gross domestic product and promoting innovation in science and technology.

Department of Labor Announces Grants Serving Young Adult Offenders and High School Dropouts, Deadline May 10th: The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced the availability of approximately $20 million for two grants to provide employment services to young adult offenders and high school dropouts ages 18 to 24 in high-poverty, high-crime communities.

Investing in Innovation (i3) Program, Deadline May 11th: The Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) Program will support local districts and nonprofit organizations—working in partnership with several districts and/or several schools—as they seek to implement educational innovations with promising or demonstrated effective outcomes for students.

New: 2010 Opportunity to Register and Other Important Information for Electronic Application Submission for the Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program, Deadline May 15th: Organizations interested in applying for the Sustainable Communities Planning Grant program are asked to call the HUD NOFA Information Center as soon as possible to register and receive important application information. HUD's NOFA Information Center can be reached at 1-800-HUD-8929.

Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Pilot Program, Deadline June 1st: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Pilot program through which 20 pilot projects will receive funding and direct assistance (through Agency contract support) to facilitate community involvement in area-wide planning approaches to brownfields assessment, cleanup, and subsequent reuse.

New: CDFI Fund Announces 2010 New Markets Tax Credits Available for Investments to Help Low-Income Communities, Deadline June 2nd: The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the opening of the 2010 round of competition for tax credits under the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program.  According to CDFI Fund Director Donna J. Gambrell, “these credits will help finance small businesses, grocery stores, healthcare centers, charter schools and job-training sites and will help create, save or support local jobs where they are needed most.”

Upcoming Events

April 19th
WH Office of Urban Affairs Director Adolfo Carrion will deliver the keynote address at the International Economic Development Council dinner at 7pm in Alexandria, VA.

April 20th
Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President Valerie Jarrett will keynote and Director Carrion and Urban Policy Director Derek Douglas will be featured speakers in the launch of the Institute for Comprehensive Community Development, a venture of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.at the Capitol Hilton in Washington, D.C.

April 21th
Director Carrion will deliver the opening keynote for the CEO’s for Cities Strategy Session:2010 at the SUNY Global Center in New York City.

April 23rd
Director Carrion will present the Graduate Planning Student Association Lecture in the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning on April 23 at 1 p.m. in 146 Diefendorf Hall, UB South Campus.

April 26th-27th
Registration is open for The Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, which will be held on April 26th-27th, 2010 at the Ronald Regan Building in Washington, D.C.

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