By Special to the Daily World
The City of Atlanta was recently awarded $250,000 to transform the Atlanta University Center Neighborhood into a new viable and sustainable mixed-income and mixed-use neighborhood (see project summary below). Mayor Kasim Reed joined U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Southeast Regional Administrator Ed Jennings Jr., as he announced that Atlanta is among 17 cities across the country to be awarded the first Planning Grant funding through the department’s new Choice Neighborhoods Initiative.
The communities that were awarded funding last Monday will share a total of $4 million in Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants, while six other communities were selected as finalists to compete for approximately $61 million in Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grants.
“The City of Atlanta is grateful for the continued support of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,” said Reed. “This grant will provide the necessary resources to improve the conditions of this neighborhood and help our residents out of poverty and onto a path of hope for the future. The proposed work will be transformational for the areas surrounding the Atlanta University Center and will serve as a model for other cities around the country.”
HUD’s new Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CN) will promote a comprehensive approach to transforming distressed areas of concentrated poverty into viable and sustainable mixed-income, mixed-use neighborhoods.
Building on the successes of HUD’s HOPE VI Program, Choice Neighborhoods will link housing improvements with a wider variety of public services, including schools, public transit and employment opportunities.
“Today, we turn a new page in the way we tackle intergenerational poverty,” said Jennings. “President Obama has said that there is no greater economic policy than one that invests in our children’s future and helps America out-educate the world. But that’s not possible if we leave a whole generation of children behind in our poorest neighborhoods.
The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative expands on the bipartisan success of the HOPE VI program by recognizing that we must link affordable housing with a mix of incomes and uses with quality education, public transportation, good jobs and safe streets. Atlanta and the Atlanta Housing Authority are to be congratulated for their efforts in that regard and for the recently announced Choice Neighborhood Planning Grant award.”
The Atlanta University Center neighborhood is home to the country’s largest concentration of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBUs). However, the