Funding Alert! Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Attention Public Housing Authorities (PHAs), local or tribal governments, and nonprofits! The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is now accepting proposals to its Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants program. This program supports the local development of strategies to address severely distressed public housing through a collaborative and comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. Choice Neighborhoods programs result in the development and implementation of a “Transformation Plan” that guides the revitalization of public and/or HUD-assisted housing units, transformation of the surrounding neighborhoods, and realization of positive outcomes for local families. Proposals to this program are due July 13, 2021.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Eligible applicants are PHAs, local governments, tribal entities, and nonprofit organizations. Applicants must focus their proposed revitalization efforts on at least one severely distressed public and/or HUD-assisted housing project. Eligible housing must meet the definition of HUD “public housing” or “assisted housing”; include at least one housing project that is available for families (general occupancy); have an Actual Date of Full Availability (DOFA) earlier than January 1, 1996; and meet the HUD definition of “severely distressed.” In addition, at least 20% of the residents in the target neighborhood must be in poverty or have extremely low incomes.

What are the program details?

Transformation Plans must address three categories of objectives: housing (transformed housing should be well-managed and financially viable; mixed income; energy efficient, climate resistant, and sustainable), people (target residents will benefit from effective education; income and employment opportunities; quality health care; and housing location, quality, and affordability), and neighborhood (improved private and public investment, amenities, effective public schools, and safety). To this end, applications must address numerous required activities:

  • Ensure meaningful resident, community, and stakeholder participation during Transformation Plan development;
  • Conduct a household-level needs assessment of the target residents to better design solutions that address identified needs and barriers;
  • Create a relocation strategy for target residents during rehabilitation/reconstruction;
  • Engage a third party to conduct a market assessment of the target neighborhood;
  • Select the master developer/housing developer to implement the Transformation Plan’s housing component;
  • Complete a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment; and
  • Contact the State Historic Preservation Officer (if the target housing is 45 years of age or older).

For a full description of the required and additional allowable activities, see the full notice of funding opportunity (NOFO), pages 21-25 (available for download here). HUD expects to award eleven planning grants of up to $450,000 for a 2-year project period.

What makes a project a good fit?

Proposals may earn up to two additional points for meeting one of three funding preferences: projects located in an Opportunity Zone, an applicant partnering with a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), or activities located in a Promise Zone.

In addition, projects must ensure right to return for tenants; provide for one-for-one replacement of all target housing units; incorporate sustainable development practices (see the six HUD Livability Principles); meet energy efficiency and Green Building Standards; ensure non-fungibility of funds; and incorporate excellence in design.

What if I am ready to apply? To move your project forward, take the following action steps as soon as possible:

  • Read the full program solicitation (available for download here) for additional details and allowable project activities.
  • Visit the HUD Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants page for additional details, including an informational YouTube presentation and mapping tool to assess neighborhood eligibility.
  • Make sure your System for Award Management (SAM) registration is active and be sure you have agov profile. You can check your SAM status here:

What if I need help with this application?

Contact Assel Grant Services (AGS) today! Our team can help with all aspects of preparing the application and managing the grant if you are awarded. If you would like to discuss this possibility, please contact AGS as soon as possible. Rosie Brennan, Community Engagement Specialist, will be happy to talk with you about this opportunity and provide you a quote for grant services.

What if I am not ready to apply this year?

Start preparing for next year! HUD also has a variety of other funding opportunities available for consideration. The office’s website has ample resources, webinars, and descriptions of its programs.

How do I learn more about federal grant opportunities?

AGS is excited to offer a new Federal Grants Training Series coming in 2021! The series is designed to support nonprofit professionals before and during their first federal grant. AGS also offers several on demand webinars on a variety of topics to support the full grant cycle. Check out our website to learn more and sign up for our training newsletter.

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