HUD Goes Local to Spark Housing Recovery

by devteam July 12th, 2011 | Share

Six cities have been selected for arnpilot program designed by the Obama Administration to strengthen localrncapacity, spark economic growth and ensure that taxpayer dollars are usedrnefficiently.  The initiative, namedrnStrong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) will involve multiple federal agenciesrnwhich will provide staff to work with local governments.  </p

The program has three primary goals:  </p<ul class="unIndentedList"<liTornhelp local governments cut through federal red tape and navigate the "overlappingrnmaze" of agencies, regulations and program requirements.</li<liTo provide on the ground technical assistancernand planning resources tailored to local governments' needs and helping themrnuse the federal funds they already receive more efficiently and effectively;rnand</li<liToo develop critical partnerships with key localrnand regional stakeholders that encompass not only municipal and staterngovernments, but also new partnerships with the business community,rnnon-profits, anchor institutions, faith-based institutions, and other public,rnprivate, and philanthropic leaders.</li</ul

The participating cities are Detroit,rnMichigan; Chester, Pennsylvania, Cleveland, Ohio; Fresno, California; Memphis, Tennessee;rnand New Orleans, Louisiana. The six were selected on the basis of economicrnneed, strong local leadership and collaboration, potential for economic growth,rngeographic diversity, and the ability to test the SC2 model across a range ofrnenvironments.  Federal assessment teams spent time on the ground workingrndirectly with mayors and other local officials to determine needs,rnopportunities and gather input for the pilot initiative. </p

SC2 has several components.  Community Solutions Teams (CST) made up ofrnfederal employees from several agencies will work with the mayors ofrnparticipating cities with issues they have identified as vital to theirrneconomic strategies including efforts to build on local assets, strengthenrnregional economies, develop transportation infrastructure, improve job-trainingrnprograms and support community revitalization.  In Detroit for example thernCST will be made up of representatives from the Departments of Housing andrnUrban Development, Labor, Transportation, and Commerce and the Small BusinessrnAdministration. </p

The SC2 Fellowship Program will complementrnthe CST by the competitive section, training, and placing of early tornmid-career professionals in multi-year positions to give cities additionalrncapacity.   The Rockefeller Foundation is providing $2.5 million in seedrnmoney for this program.</p

The SC2 Economic Planning Challenge is arnnational grant competition designed to help cities beyond the first six developrneconomic strategies to support comprehensive city and regional planningrnefforts.  Six cities additional citiesrnwill be selected to receive $1 million to administer a challenge competition torndevelop economic and land use proposals. </p

Contingent on receiving funding, the NationalrnResource Network (NRN) will aggregate public and private resources to provide arnbroader set of cities and regions with access to a one-stop portal to taprnholistic policy and implementation support. rnAn intermediary will run the NRN and outside experts will be availablernto cities, towns, and regions to consult from a menu of customized andrncomprehensive technical assistance. NRN will also foster peer-to-peer learningrnto strengthen the network of urban practitioners and thinkers.  </p

 “Overrnthe past two and a half years, the Obama Administration received feedback fromrnleaders all across the country who described the kind of partnership that wouldrnbe most useful to them for economic growth,” said Domestic Policy Director Melody Barnes.  “Thernresult is Strong Cities, Strong Communities, an innovative new pilot that willrnhelp strengthen local communities while also delivering federal resources andrnassistance more effectively.”   

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About the Author


Steven A Feinberg (@CPAsteve) of Appletree Business Services LLC, is a PASBA member accountant located in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

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