HUD is circulating a draft of their proposal for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI), which would take the place of the HOPE VI public housing revitalization program.  Comments are due to HUD on November 24; please submit comments to NCSHA’s Mindy La Branche by Monday, November 23. 
According to HUD’s proposal, CNI’s purpose is to transform neighborhoods of extreme poverty into mixed-income neighborhoods of long-term viability; grow communities and metropolitan areas by concentrating and coordinating federal government funding for public transportation, education, housing, energy, supportive services, and environmental programs and initiatives; and support positive outcomes for families.
Funding would be allocated through competitive grants.  Eligible grantees include local governments, public housing agencies, community development corporations, assisted housing owners, and other for-profit and nonprofit entities.  Grant applications must be submitted in the form of a transformation plan.  Up to 10 percent of the funding could be used for planning grants and 5 percent could be used for technical assistance and program evaluation
Eligible neighborhoods include those with a concentration of extreme poverty, severely distressed housing, and a potential for long-term viability once key problems are addressed.
Required activities under the proposal include among others: transforming housing through rehabilitation, preservation, and/or demolition and replacement of severely distressed housing that incorporates energy efficient design principles; promoting economic self-sufficiency of residents of the revitalized properties and of the surrounding neighborhood; demonstrating that each resident who wishes to return to the revitalized on-site housing in the neighborhood or to replacement housing outside of the neighborhood, can return; providing service coordination, support services, mobility counseling and housing search assistance; and linking to local education efforts.
The proposal asks for an authorization of appropriations in the amount of $250 million for FY 2010.  Although CNI was included in the President’s FY 2010 Budget Request, the program has not been authorized.  The Senate funded CNI at $250 million and the House funded HOPE VI at $250 million, but did not include CNI, in their respective FY 2010 HUD appropriations bills.  The HUD FY 2010 House and Senate appropriations bills are awaiting a formal conference to reconcile the two versions.

The draft legislation can be found here: