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12/17/2010 WH Urban Affairs Newsletter

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

Top News

 

 President Obama Signs Tax Relief and Unemployment Insurance Bill into Law: President Obama took action this Friday to secure vital tax relief and investments for American workers that will create jobs and accelerate economic growth. Surrounded by Democrats and Republicans, the President signed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act into law.  The bill ensures that 7 million Americans will not lose unemployment benefits and that working families will not face over $3,000 in new taxes. The package protects American workers with an extension of middle class tax cuts, a full year of emergency unemployment insurance benefits, and a $120 billion payroll tax cut. The package moves to spur growth by also extending the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Child Tax Credit (CTC), and the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

HHS Announces an Additional $670 Million to Help Keep the Heat On: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced the availability of more than $670 million to states to help low income families with their heating bills this winter. These funds represent additional grants to states under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP helps eligible families pay the costs of heating and insulating their homes in the winter, and cooling their homes in the summer. HHS is releasing this additional allocation of LIHEAP funds now to ensure that states have resources available to support their energy assistance programs as the weather turns colder.

Obama Administration Convenes Environmental Leaders at Historic White House Environmental Justice Forum Featuring Five Cabinet Secretaries: Five Cabinet secretaries and senior officials from a wide range of federal agencies and offices participated in the first White House Forum on Environmental Justice today, illustrating the Obama administration’s commitment to ensuring all Americans have strong federal protection from environmental and health hazards. Five Cabinet secretaries and senior officials from a wide range of federal agencies and offices participated in the first White House Forum on Environmental Justice today, illustrating the Obama administration’s commitment to ensuring all Americans have strong federal protection from environmental and health hazards.
 

Department of Energy Finalizes Loan Guarantee to Support World's Largest Wind Project: Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that a partial loan guarantee for a $1.3 billion loan has been finalized to support the world's largest wind farm.  The loan will finance the Caithness Shepherds Flat project, an 845-megawatt wind generation facility located in eastern Oregon. Once completed, the project will sell 100 percent of the power and renewable energy credits generated to Southern California Edison under 20-year fixed price power purchase agreements.  The Department of Energy, through the Loan Programs Office, has issued loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees to support 16 clean energy projects totaling nearly $16.5 billion.

HUD to Investigate Allegations that Mortgage Lenders Discriminate Against African American and Latino Loan Seekers: The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that it is launching multiple investigations to determine if mortgage lenders illegally deny qualified African American and Latino borrowers’ access to credit. The investigations are in response to 22 complaints the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) filed with HUD alleging that the particular home lending practices deny FHA-insured loans to African Americans and Latinos with credit scores as high as 640. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD.

Features

The States Step Up: Bruce Katz and Amy Liu of the Brookings Metropolitan Program discuss how states can deliver a new economy: In January, 37 state governors, many of them new, will take office facing daunting economic and budget challenges. Bruce Katz, Jennifer Bradley and Amy Liu say that these governors must look to the economic power of their metropolitan areas and the tools—like infrastructure banks and regional business plans—to maximize these areas.

Funding Opportunities

 NEW EDA’s Planning and Local Technical Assistance Programs - Deadline Rolling: EDA’s Planning and Local Technical Assistance Programs are two of the agency’s six assistance programs. Under the Planning Program, EDA provides assistance to eligible districts, cities, and states to create regional economic development plans in order to stimulate and guide the economic development efforts of a community or region. EDA’s Local Technical Assistance Program helps eligible recipients fill the knowledge and information gaps that may prevent leaders in the public and nonprofit sectors in economically distressed regions from making optimal decisions on local economic development issues.

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.

NEW SBA Community Advantage Initiative Opens 7(a) Loan Program To CDFIs - Deadline March 15: In an effort to expand access to capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs in underserved communities across the nation, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced the creation of a new loan initiative named Community Advantage. This new program will increase the number of lower-dollar loans into these underserved communities by allowing Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and other mission-focused lenders, to originate SBA 7(a) loans up to $250,000.