HUD has released Notice of Funding Availabilities (NOFAs) for the FY 2010 Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Demonstration Program (CNI) and HOPE VI Revitalization grant program.

Choice Neighborhoods Initiative

A. Grant Overview

HUD will award two types of CNI grants, Planning Grants and Implementation Grants. The current Round 1 NOFA allows applicants to submit an application for a Planning and/or Implementation Grant.

HUD will award 12 to 15 Planning Grants of up to $250,000 each. Two grants will be set aside for non-metropolitan areas; two will be set aside for applications that demonstrate collaboration among multiple owners of public and/or assisted housing projects; and four will be set aside for neighborhoods that have received a Promise Neighborhoods planning grant from the Department of Education.

After reviewing Implementation Grant applications submitted in response to the Round 1 NOFA, HUD will select approximately 10 finalists. HUD will then publish the Round 2 NOFA, which will give the 10 Implementation Grant finalists an opportunity to submit a more detailed application. After reviewing the more detailed applications, HUD will grant two to four awards, not to exceed $31 million each.

An applicant may submit a maximum of three Planning and Implementation grant applications total. However, an applicant may submit only one application per public and/or assisted housing site. There is no limit on the number of public and/or assisted housing projects per application, as long as all are within the neighborhood boundaries.

B. Eligible Neighborhoods

Neighborhoods eligible for Planning and Implementation grants include those with 1) severely distressed public and/or assisted housing, and with 2) at least 20 percent of the residents in poverty or with extremely low incomes. To meet the second requirement, an applicant must demonstrate one of the following:

  • Per capita Part 1 violent crime rates over the past three years are at least 1.5 times those rates for the city in which the neighborhood is located.
  • The most current rate, within the last year, of long-term vacant or substandard homes is at least 1.5 times higher than that of the city as a whole.
  • A low-performing public school, or at least 20 children or 20 percent of the children from the target public and/or HUD-assisted housing attend a low-performing public school.

C. One-for-One Replacement

One-for-one replacement of all units is required. Replacement housing can be public housing project-based Housing Choice Vouchers or units funded under the Section 202 and Section 811 programs. To satisfy the replacement requirement, the replacement unit must not have been receiving assistance before submission of the application.

Replacement housing must reflect the number of bedrooms per unit that are needed to accommodate returning tenants and households currently on the waiting list. However, if the original tenants require a different number of bedrooms than households on the waiting list, displaced tenants can exercise their right to a tenant-based voucher in the original neighborhood or other neighborhood of their choice.

Additionally, replacement units must be developed on-site, in the target neighborhood being revitalized, or within the metropolitan area up to 25 miles from the original project site. Replacement housing outside the target area must offer access to economic opportunities and public transportation, and be accessible to social, recreational, educational, commercial, and health services. Moreover, replacement housing cannot be located in areas of minority concentration or in areas with a poverty rate above 40 percent.

D. Rating, Objectives, and Metrics

In rating applications for Round 1 of the Implementation Grant, HUD awards the most number of points for an applicant’s overall capacity to implement the Transformation Plan. Overall capacity is dependent on an applicant’s ability to manage contracts and partnerships, secure leverage, and achieve measurable outcomes as demonstrated through experiences transforming housing and neighborhoods and providing supportive services.

HUD highly rates transformed housing that is energy efficient, sustainable, accessible, and connected, as well as mixed-income, physically viable, and financially viable. Housing should have low per-unit energy consumption and healthy indoor quality, be resistant to local disaster risk, exceed federal accessibility requirements, and have affordable broadband Internet access.

HUD also awards a significant number of points for applications that contemplate increases in average incomes, improvements in health, and a safe living environment. Of particular importance to the CNI program is education, specifically access to high-quality learning programs and schools. HUD expects public schools to implement reforms to improve student achievement, which will facilitate matriculation to high school and college and provide more career opportunities. As a result, students should receive test scores that are comparable to the state average. HUD also focuses on early-learning programs so that physical, social, and educational development can begin at a young age.

Lastly, HUD awards neighborhood improvements with regard to neighboring housing and accessibility to services, employment, public assets, public schools, and transportation. The distance traveled from the neighborhood to basic services, such as grocery stores, banks, health clinics and doctors’ offices, parks, and educational institutions, should be equal to or less than the distance traveled from the median neighborhood in the metropolitan area.

To measure the long-term success of the CNI program, HUD will work with grantees to develop housing, people, and neighborhood metrics, based on CNI’s objectives, that are appropriate to the targeted site and neighborhood.

In rating Planning Grant applications, HUD awards the most number of points for need, as demonstrated through the severe physical distress of the targeted public and/or assisted housing and neighborhood. HUD also considers the need for affordable housing in the neighborhood.

CNI is in the Senate version of the FY 2011 Appropriations bill. The House declined to fund CNI in its version because the program is not yet authorized. The House also expressed concerns about using HUD funds to pay for education and transportation, rather than relying on interagency collaborations for such funds. The Senate Committee Report states that the goal of CNI is to demonstrate that coordinated neighborhood investments from multiple sources can transform a distressed neighborhood and improve the quality of life for current and future residents. Currently, CNI remains unauthorized. However, language for the program is included in H.R. 5814, which has passed the Financial Services Committee. The full House has not voted on the bill and a companion bill has not been introduced in the Senate.

The deadline for submissions is October 26, 2010.

HOPE VI

For FY 2010, $124 million is available for HOPE VI Revitalization grants. Awards are capped at $22 million each and HUD anticipates granting five to six awards. The requirements of the HOPE VI program generally remain unchanged from FY 2009, with minor changes in the rating system. Notably, under the Community and Support Services component of an application, HUD awards additional points for health initiatives and workforce partnerships, with a focus on green jobs and training. The health initiatives are aimed towards improving resident quality of life while the workforce partnerships aim to assist residents in moving towards self-sufficiency through employment in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.

Public housing project(s) included in a FY 2010 HOPE VI Revitalization application may not be the subject of FY 2010 CNI grant application. However, an applicant may apply for a CNI grant for a housing project in the same neighborhood as a public housing project for which a housing authority is applying for a HOPE VI grant.

The deadline for submission is November 22, 2010.