The Denver Housing Authority learned in late November that it will receive a Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant to help stimulate development in Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood.

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development presented DHA with $500,000 to provide the Sun Valley community with seed funding to craft to revitalize housing and transform the neighborhood.

“Through this investment, HUD and its partners are able to provide better opportunities for people living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty and segregation and offer choices that help families live closer to jobs and schools,” said HUD Assistant Secretary for Housing/FHA Commissioner Carol Galante. 

Rick Garcia, HUD’s Rocky Mountain Regional Administrator added, “The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative represents the next generation of public housing funding intended to revitalize entire neighborhoods like Denver’s Sun Valley. This award puts the Denver Housing Authority on a path towards critically needed Choice implementation funding down the road, which supports locally driven revitalization solutions for neighborhoods in need.”

According to Ismael Guerrero, DHA Executive Director, “HUD's Choice Neighborhood Initiative is a true national model for comprehensive transformation of city neighborhoods. Sun Valley will be a model neighborhood revitalization effort for the city of Denver.”

HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative promotes a comprehensive approach to transforming distressed areas of concentrated poverty into viable and sustainable mixed-income neighborhoods. Building on the successes of HUD’s HOPE VI Program, Choice Neighborhoods links housing improvements with services for the people who live there, including schools, public transit and employment opportunities.

The Denver Housing Authority project was selected from among 52 applications. Successful applicants demonstrated their intent to plan for the transformation of neighborhoods by revitalizing severely distressed public and/or assisted housing while leveraging investments to create high-quality public schools, outstanding education and early-learning programs, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs and well-functioning services.

HUD focused on directing resources to address three core goals:

• Housing. Transform distressed public and assisted housing into energy-efficient, mixed-income housing that is physically and financially viable over the long-term.

• People. Support positive outcomes for families who live in the target development(s) and the surrounding neighborhood, particularly outcomes related to residents’ health, safety, employment, mobility, and education.

• Neighborhood. Transform neighborhoods of poverty into viable, mixed-income neighborhoods with access to well-functioning services, high-quality public schools and education programs, high quality early learning programs and services, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs.

The grantees will use the funding to work with local stakeholders—public and/or assisted housing residents, community members, businesses, institutions and local government officials—to undertake a successful neighborhood transformation to create a “choice neighborhood.”

The awardees will use the funding to create a comprehensive transformation plan, or road map, to transforming distressed public and/or assisted housing within a distressed community.
Choice Neighborhoods is one of the signature programs of the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which supports innovative, holistic strategies that bring public and private partners together to help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Choice Neighborhoods encourages collaboration between HUD and the Departments of Education, Justice, Treasury and Health and Human Services to support local solutions for sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods with the affordable housing, safe streets and good schools that all families need.

Congress approved the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative with the passage of HUD’s FY2010 budget. Funding is provided through two separate programs—Implementation Grants and Planning Grants. With this announcement, HUD has awarded a total of $16.9 million in planning grants to 56 cities or counties.