When Congress approved FY 2010 funding, $150 million was provided to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for a new sustainable communities program. $100 million of that funding was set aside for regional planning grants and $40 million for “challenge grants” designed to provide capital funds to implement regional plans. On February 5, HUD issued an Advance Notice with a description and framework for a new Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program. The Advance Notice process is for the agency to garner feedback from the public, prior to a Notice of Fund Availability (NOFA) release.
HUD is requesting comments on the program and the proposed funding structure. Because the program is for multi-jurisdictional regional planning efforts, HUD is particularly seeking input from local governments, regional bodies, community development entities, and other stakeholders about how best to structure the program in order to have the most meaningful impact in creating “economically competitive, healthy, opportunity-rich communities.”
Three funding categories are being considered. First, support for the preparation of Regional Plans for Sustainable Development that integrate housing, economic development, transportation, and environmental quality where such plans do not currently exist. Second, funds may support the preparation of more detailed execution plans and programs to implement existing regional sustainable development plans. Lastly, implementation funds to support regions that have regional sustainable development plans and implementation strategies in place and need support for a catalytic project or program that demonstrates commitment to and implementation of the broader plan.
The comment period on the Advance Notice is open until March 12, 2010. HUD expects to release the final NOFA on the planning grants by April 12, 2010. Regions would likely have until the end of June to apply, and grant announcements would be made in early August.
APA will be submitting formal comments to HUD. We want your input. If you would like to submit comments or ideas, please contact APA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Obama Administration is also asking Congress to approve an additional $150 million for the program in the FY 2011 budget. Additionally, Congress is considering legislation to provide a multiyear authorization for the program. That legislation, the Livable Communities Act (S. 1619) may come before the Senate Banking Committee later this month. A House companion is expected as soon as next week. APA has endorsed the legislation.
More information, including a link to provide comments, can be found on HUD’s sustainability office website.
APA, Director of Policy & Government Affairs