Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Obama administration proposes to expand the Hope IV program

The Obama administration has a proposal to expand the Hope IV project in it's latest budget. During the Clinton administration, Hope IV brought about the funding to demolish then reconstruct public housing in metro centers. The program is credited with improving public housing. Now, the latest proposal from Obama wants to take the plan a step further by adding schools and transportation to the hosing units.

From the Washington Post, writer By Christina Bellantoni tells us more.

The initiative, if approved by Congress, will operate in the same way by redeveloping public and assisted housing, but it will include community development, and applicants will have to prove the transformation would be catalytic, said Bruce Katz, a senior adviser to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.

It also has a "much tighter link" to school reform, he said of HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative.

Sen. Christopher S. "Kit" Bond, Missouri Republican, said he would advocate for the new program because it expands on the successful Hope VI initiative he has championed since its creation in 1992.

He said in an interview that the idea is "to see if we can do something in a coordinated effective effort to end the cycle of poverty and distress … and empower the local residents to have more control over their life."

Mr. Bond cited projects in St. Louis and also on Capitol Hill that are now model communities.

Mr. Katz said Hope VI dramatically lowered crime rates and increased property values in the worst neighborhoods. It merited about $500 million per year in funding during the Clinton administration but was on "life support" during the Bush presidency, Mr. Katz said.

HUD estimates 10 cities would be granted the funding after a competitive process, and to qualify, at least 40 percent of a neighborhood's residents must live below the federal poverty line of about $22,000 for a family of four.

Atlanta, Kansas City, Mo., Philadelphia and San Francisco were cited often during interviews for this story as examples of places with similar programs or where residents could benefit from the "choice" initiative.

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