The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded nearly $5 million to six communities to help create plans to redevelop severely distressed HUD assisted housing and revitalize neighborhoods. Funded through HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, these grants will help local leaders to craft comprehensive, homegrown plans to revitalize and transform these neighborhoods. The City of Lewiston, in partnership with Community Concepts, Inc as Co-applicant, were awarded a $1.3 million Choice Neighborhood Planning and Action grant. Of this funding, $950,000 is reserved for action activities to begin implementing the plan. Eligible uses of these funds include recycling vacant property into community gardens, pocket parks, or farmers markets; beautification, place-making and community arts projects; homeowner and business façade improvement programs; neighborhood broadband or wi-fi; fresh food initiatives; and gap financing for economic development projects.
HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative promotes a comprehensive approach to transforming neighborhoods struggling to address the interconnected challenges of distressed housing, inadequate schools, poor health, high crime, and lack of capital. Choice Neighborhoods is focused on three core goals:
Housing: Replace distressed public and assisted housing with high-quality mixed-income housing that is well-managed and responsive to the needs of the surrounding neighborhood.
People: Improve outcomes of households living in the target housing related to employment and income, health, and children’s education; and
Neighborhood: Create the conditions necessary for public and private reinvestment in distressed neighborhoods to offer the kinds of amenities and assets, including safety, good schools, and commercial activity, that are important to families' choices about their community.
Through the Choice Neighborhoods planning process local governments, housing authorities, residents, nonprofits, tribal authorities, private developers, school districts, police departments, and other civic organizations create a common vision and develop effective strategies to revitalize their neighborhood. The resulting Transformation Plan lays the foundation for revitalizing the distressed public and/or assisted housing units, transforming the surrounding neighborhood, and promoting opportunities for families. The City of Lewiston and Community Concepts Inc are partnering with Healthy Neighborhoods, a group of community focused people committed to transforming the Tree Street neighborhood, to help govern the planning process. Healthy Neighborhoods is working every day in the tree streets to engage residents in transforming the neighborhood and ensure residents’ voices are being heard. Interested in keeping up to date on what’s happening and where you can get involved? Check our Healthy Neighborhood’s website to see how you can help with growing our tree streets.