5/21/10 Urban Affairs Weekly Newsletter

Top News

Senate Passes Historic Financial Regulatory Reform Bill: The Washington Post reports: “The Senate approved far-reaching new financial rules on Thursday aimed at preventing the risky behavior and regulatory failures that brought the economy to the brink of collapse two years ago and cost millions of Americans their jobs and savings. [. . .] In providing for the most profound remaking of financial regulations since the Great Depression, the legislation would create a new consumer-protection watchdog housed at the Federal Reserve to prevent abuse in mortgage, auto and credit card lending. [. . .] Passage of the measure marks a milestone in President Obama's efforts to tackle the financial abuse and excess that contributed to the crisis and prevent another meltdown.”

Preparing Communities for New Industries, New Jobs, and New Opportunities: This week the President visited Youngstown, Ohio to tour V&M Star Steel, a company that’s adding hundreds of jobs in part due to investments form the Recovery Act. Speaking to Youngstown workers, the President took a moment to look back at a tough year and the actions that had to be taken to turn the economy around from losing 750,000 jobs the month he came into office to gaining 250,000 last month. The president announced “a landmark agreement to help dozens of communities like Youngstown revitalize and redevelop old, shuttered GM facilities, preparing them for new industries, new jobs, and new opportunity.”

Obama Administration Supports Additional Funding To Stabilize Neighborhoods Hard-Hit By Foreclosure: U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced Tuesday that the Obama Administration will work with Congress to find ways to help state and local governments more effectively combat the ongoing effects of the housing crisis and home foreclosures through additional funding for the Department’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) and foreclosure prevention counseling. The Neighborhood Stabilization Program was created to address the housing crisis, create jobs, and grow local economies by providing communities with the resources to purchase and rehabilitate vacant homes.

Council on Auto Communities and Workers Announces Landmark Framework to Speed Redevelopment of Shuttered Auto Facilities, First Annual Report Released: The White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers announced a landmark federal framework to speed the cleanup of and redevelopment of shuttered auto facilities resulting from the GM bankruptcy. The framework will invest more than $800 million to put facilities back into productive use, creating jobs and economic growth in communities across the country. When fully implemented, it will represent the largest environmental and economic development effort for former manufacturing sites in our nation’s history. With a federal framework in hand, the United States plans on discussing the framework with the states and the debtor to work to finalize a plan for the use of these funds.

U.S. Treasury Awards $2 Million to Five Organizations for Financial Education and Counseling Initiatives: The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) released this week the names of five organizations which will receive federal grants under the first round of the Financial Education and Counseling (FEC) Pilot Program. The grants, totaling $2 million in award funding made possible through fiscal year (FY) 2009 Congressional appropriations, will provide organizations financial assistance to establish and expand financial education and counseling services for prospective homebuyers.

Federal Transportation Officials Seek Public Input on First Ever National Rail Plan: Dates and locations of public outreach meetings to solicit input toward the development of the nation’s first National Rail Plan were announced on Monday by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).  The National Rail Plan will lay out a coordinated vision for future development of our nation’s freight and passenger rail networks.  A final version of the plan will be released by September 15, 2010.  “The development of the National Rail Plan must be a collaborative effort,” said FRA Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “We want to work with states, communities, businesses, transportation experts and the public to make sure our future transportation needs are met.”

EPA Recognizes Students From Across the Country for Contributions Toward a Healthier Environment: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson recognized young people from across the country at the 2009 President’s Environmental Youth Awards (PEYA) ceremony on Wednesday. These students have made outstanding contributions to environmental protection through projects that help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and protect America’s waters. Some of the projects include collecting the town’s cooking oil for recycling into biofuel and distributing it to charities; designing and building an environmental education center made entirely out of green, earth friendly materials; and starting a recycling program and class on recycling. "The President's Environmental Youth Award recognizes young people from across the United States who have stepped up to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the communities where we live," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

Small Business Week: A proclamation signed this week by President Obama notes that “small business owners embody the spirit of entrepreneurship and strong work ethic that lie at the heart of the American dream. They are the backbone of our Nation's economy, they employ tens of millions of workers, and, in the past 15 years, they have created the majority of new private sector jobs. During Small Business Week, May 23rd to 29th, [the administration] reaffirm[s] [its] support for America's small businesses and celebrate[s] the proud tradition of private enterprise they represent.

Featured

Ford Foundation Forging A New Path to Metropolitan Prosperity: The Ford Foundation this week announced a five-year, $200 million effort to help transform the way cities, suburbs and surrounding communities grow and plan for the future, promoting a new metropolitan approach that interweaves housing, transportation and land-use policy to foster greater economic growth. The initiative was announced by Ford Foundation President Luis A. Ubiñas to some 300 local, state, and federal leaders gathered to discuss the revitalization of American communities that once relied almost solely on the auto industry for jobs and growth.

Funding Opportunities

a href="http://www.esaphaseone.com/wp-filez/10-05.pdf">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. More here.

CDFI Fund 2010 New Markets Tax Credits 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.” 2010 NMTC Electronic Allocation Application Now Available.

Commerce Announces New Innovation Competition - the i6 Challenge, Deadline June 15th: The Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship and the Economic Development Administration (EDA) at the U.S. Department of Commerce announced a new $12 million innovation competition - the i6 Challenge. The program, administered in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), seeks the most innovative ideas to drive technology commercialization and entrepreneurship. EDA expects to award up to $1 million in each of its six regions, while NSF and NIH will award up to $6 million in additional funds for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grantees that are associated with winning teams.Department of

Education Promise Neighborhood Planning Grants, Deadline June 25th: The U.S. Department of Education has launched the Promise Neighborhood program, the first federal initiative to put education at the center of comprehensive efforts to fight poverty in urban and rural areas.  The $10 million available in fiscal 2010 will support up to 20 organizations with one year of funding to plan for the implementation of cradle-to-career services designed to improve educational outcomes for students in distressed neighborhoods.  Planning grants will range between $400,000 and $500,000.

Tiger II Discretionary Grants Program, Deadline July 16th: The Department of Transportation is soliciting application for the "TIGER II" discretionary grant program, a $600 million competitive transportation grant program for surface transportation projects.

 

Upcoming Events

May 25th
Elizabeth Wilkins of the Domestic Policy Council will speak at the Council on Federal Procurement of Architectural and Engineering Services’ (COFPAES’s) Federal Architect-Engineer Forum at the American Institute of Architects in D.C.

May 26th
The First Lady will take the White House youth leadership and mentoring program on the road to Detroit, Michigan, next week.  Mrs. Obama will be joined by leaders in business, entertainment, news, sports and government for a luncheon with students and a larger afternoon event focused on Detroit’s young people, all designed to engage, encourage, and inspire.  Further details about this trip will be released in the coming days.

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