HUD has announced the availability of about $5 million for Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants and said it expects to award 17 to 20 grants of up to $300,000 each.

In the FY 2012 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA), issued on February 29, 2012, HUD said it may also use remaining FY 2011 and additional FY 2012 Choice Neighborhoods funds to award Planning Grants under the NOFA.

Applications must include a Transformation Plan for the revitalization of a severely distressed public and/or HUD-assisted multifamily housing project located in a distressed neighborhood into a viable, mixed-income community. An application may target more than one project provided they are all in the same neighborhood. However, only one application may be submitted per neighborhood.

Eligible applicants include public housing authorities, local governments, nonprofits, tribal entities, and for-profit developers that apply jointly with a public entity. A Lead Applicant or Co-Applicant may participate in a maximum of three Choice Neighborhoods applications.

Excluded as targets in FY 2012 Choice Neighborhoods applications are any public and/or assisted housing projects previously funded through a HOPE VI Revitalization grant, an ARRA Capital Fund Recovery Competition grant, or a Choice Neighborhoods grant.

Application materials may be obtained from and are due May 1, 2012. HUD will announce awards by the end of September.

Eligible Neighborhoods

Neighborhoods eligible for Planning Grants include those with 1) severely distressed public and/or assisted housing, and with 2) at least 20 percent of the residents in poverty or with extremely low incomes. To meet the first requirement, an applicant must demonstrate one of the following:

  • Violent crime rates over three years at least 1.5 times the rate of the city in which the neighborhood is located
  • Long-term vacant or substandard homes at a current rate at least 1.5 times higher than that of the city as a whole
  • A low-performing public school, or at least 20 percent of the children from the target public and/or HUD-assisted housing attending a low-performing public school

Eligible and Ineligible Activities

Applicants may use Planning Grants for the following activities:

  • Conduct comprehensive needs assessment
  • Undertake a comprehensive and integrated planning process
  • Conduct technical planning studies
  • Work with public and private agencies, organizations, and individuals
  • Ensure meaningful resident, community, and stakeholder participation
  • Plan for the collection and strategic use of relevant data
  • Strengthen management and decision-making capacities, and identify and secure the involvement of effective practices and actors

No more than 20 percent of the grant funds may be used for administrative costs of the Lead Applicant or Co-Applicant. Applicant also may not use Planning Grants for the following activities:

  • Acquisition, relocation, demolition and remediation, construction, or other physical improvements
  • Any activities carried out on or before the date of the letter announcing the award of the Choice Neighborhoods grant
  • Cost of Choice Neighborhoods application preparation

One-for-One Replacement

One-for-one replacement of all units is required. Replacement housing may be public housing project-based Housing Choice Vouchers or units funded under the Section 202 and Section 811 programs. To satisfy the replacement requirement, the replacement unit must not have been receiving assistance before submission of the application.

Replacement housing must reflect the number of bedrooms per unit that are needed to accommodate returning tenants and households currently on the waiting list. However, if the original tenants require a different number of bedrooms than households on the waiting list, displaced tenants may exercise their right to a tenant-based voucher in the original neighborhood or another neighborhood of their choice.

Additionally, replacement units must be developed on site, in the target neighborhood being revitalized, or within the metropolitan area up to 25 miles from the original project site. Replacement housing outside the target area must offer access to economic opportunities and public transportation, and be accessible to social, recreational, educational, commercial, and health services. Moreover, replacement housing cannot be located in areas of minority concentration or in areas with a poverty rate above 40 percent.

Copyright © 2012 by Ballard Spahr LLP.
(No claim to original U.S. government material.)


All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the author and publisher.

This alert is a periodic publication of Ballard Spahr LLP and is intended to notify recipients of new developments in the law. It should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own attorney concerning your situation and specific legal questions you have.




Related Practice