Posts tagged with "U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development":

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Congress allocates disaster relief funds through threatened HUD program

Last Thursday, September 7, the Senate approved legislation to raise the debt limit and allow for an additional $15.3 billion in disaster relief funds. About half of this – $7.4 billion – will go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to respond to the wreckage incurred by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma these past weeks. Another half will be allocated to Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These block grants are a core part of HUD's mission to provide affordable housing, create programs benefiting low- to medium-income households, encourage community development, and make improvements to infrastructure in underserved neighborhoods. However, Community Development Block Grants and its Disaster Relief Program are cut from President Trump's proposed 2018 budget. The disaster relief money would specifically come from flexible grants, the CDBG-Disaster Recovery funds, but by and large, these funds go to to private homeowners, not renters. 70% of  the funds must go to low-income households. Renters can apply for disaster vouchers through HUD's Disaster Voucher Program – although the seat for the position overseeing this program is currently vacant, and the Trump administration hasn't nominated anybody for the role. Although Congress still hasn't approved the 2018 budget cuts, funding for HUD's block grants has already been decreasing over the years – according to CityLab's reporting, "by 80% since 1979 in 2016 dollars." It's worth noting that the block grants also aren't a perfect solution – they calculate need based on a formula dating back to 1974. But their proposed elimination leaves us wondering what assistance will be available to low-income households outside of FEMA funds, which can have a notoriously slow trickle-down.  
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President Trump taps his son’s wedding planner to run N.Y. and N.J. federal housing programs

A longtime Trump family associate will soon be responsible for administering billions of dollars in federal housing funds. Lynne Patton organized the wedding of President's son, Eric Trump, coordinated Trump golf course tournaments, served as the Eric Trump Foundation's vice president, and is a senior aide to the Trump family. News broke today that—starting July 5—she'll be leading U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Region II, which includes New York and New Jersey. According to the New York Daily News, Patton has a long-running relationship with the Trumps that goes back to 2009 when she started as their "event planner." However, questions have immediately arisen regarding her qualifications for her new role at HUD. Her LinkedIn page lists a J.D. from Quinnipiac University but includes a "N/A"; Yale University is also listed but with no additional information. The New York Attorney General also began "looking into" The Eric Trump Foundation after a report from Forbes appeared to expose practices that broke state laws. Patton's directorship at HUD will include block grants and rental vouchers that go toward senior citizen programs and housing inspections; The New York Daily News reports that HUD funds 100 percent of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)'s capital repair budget and 70 percent of its operational budget. The role Patton is filling has been vacant since January 20.
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New York City to receive $176 million in federal funding for East Side coastal resiliency project

New York City will receive $176 million in federal funding for disaster recovery. The funding would be put towards a section of the project extending from the northern portion of Battery Park City to Montgomery Street on the Lower East Side. The money is part of $181 million in funding for recovery projects in New York and New Jersey. The funds came from the National Disaster Resilience Competition, a U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development–sponsored competition to rebuild communities affected by natural disasters, The New York Times reports. The BIG–designed East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (scaled down, but known in former incarnations as the DryLine or the BIG U) calls for sea walls, retractable flood barriers, and grass berms that would double as riverside recreation areas, opening up the waterfront to create a shoreline comparable to the recreation-rich shores of Manhattan's West Side. The East Side Coastal Resiliency Project arose from Rebuild by Design, a 2014 competition to solicit ideas for six large-scale flood protection and resiliency measures in the tristate area. Rebuild by Design awarded New York City $335 million in federal funds for the East 23rd Street to Montgomery Street section. Mayor de Blasio has committed $100 million in capital funding to the project already.
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SCAPE Landscape Architecture’s “Living Breakwaters” wins 2014 Buckminster Fuller Challenge

Living BreakwatersSCAPE's proposal to protect to the South Shore of Staten Island with a reef of living oysters—has picked up another accolade. First, the plan scored federal funds in the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Rebuild By Design competition, and now it has won the 2014 Buckminster Fuller Challenge. The competition was launched in 2007 to honor ideas from architects, engineers, scientists, designers, activists, planners, and entrepreneurs that addresses "humanity’s most pressing problems." In a statement, Kate Orff, the founder of SCAPE, said "Living Breakwaters hopefully represents a paradigm shift in how we collectively address climate risks, by focusing on regenerating waterfront communities and social systems, and enhancing threatened ecosystems." A $100,000 grant is provided to help develop and implement the winning proposal. For more on SCAPE's design, and to learn about what's next for Rebuild By Design, see AN's coverage of the competition. [h/t The Dirt.]
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Julian Castro Sworn In As Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Julian Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, was sworn in Tuesday as the country’s next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Castro succeeds Shaun Donovan who was tapped to head the Office of Management and Budget. During Donovan's tenure at HUD, he oversaw the Rebuild by Design competition, which selected its winners earlier this summer. Among his many responsibilities in his new role, Castro will likely be heavily involved in the execution of those projects, which include work from BIG, SCAPE, Penn Design/OLIN, OMA, Interboro, and MIT.
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Chicago’s ‘Green Healthy Neighborhoods’ plan moves forward

Chicago’s plan to revitalize troubled South Side neighborhoods with green infrastructure, urban farming and transit-friendly development is moving ahead. The city’s Plan Commission heard a presentation last week on the Green Healthy Neighborhoods program, which in 2011 announced its attention to lure investment to the Englewood, Woodlawn and Washington Park neighborhoods (read AN’s coverage here). While the urban agriculture component initially grabbed headlines—renderings show an old rail line repurposed as the “New Era Trail,” which would link urban farms and community gardens with a park-like promenade—the wide-ranging proposals also include developing retail clusters around transit nodes and street improvements for bikers and pedestrians. Funding is still up in the air, but the project will seek financing through the department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Initiative. You can see the full plan here.
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HUD Secretary Donovan Announces Kickoff of “Rebuild by Design” Competition

Resiliency is a word that has become lodged in the vocabulary of nearly every lawmaker since Hurricane Sandy ravaged the east coast last October. And this month, government officials—on a local, state, and federal level—are taking steps to ensure that coastal cities are more resilient and rebuilt to better withstand natural disasters in the future. Yesterday, at a panel discussion on Innovation & Resilience Design in Sandy Rebuilding at NYU, Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Chair of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, announced the launch of a new regional design competition, "Rebuild by Design" seeking teams—made up of the top engineers, architects, landscape designers, and other experts—to propose projects that tackle issues such as climate, economic, and infrastructure (and as the press release states, "will actually be built"). These proposals can run the gamut from green infrastructure to residential retrofits. "It is not enough for communities to build back to what they were," said Secretary Donovan during the panel. "Our solutions will have no boundaries." Donovan is collaborating with the Rockefeller Foundation, which will provide $3 million in funding in support of the competition. The competition calls on teams to look at "coastal communities, high-density urban environments, ecological networks, and a fourth category that will include other innovative questions and proposals." Donovan explained that the competition will "unfold in four stages" starting with a call for proposals and the selection of up to 10 teams. Teams will then study the region and submit design proposals. From there, Donovan and his partners will choose a winning project, which will then be implemented. Speaking on the panel today, Seth Pinsky, President of New York City Economic Development Corporation, pointed out that the advantages of this competition are that it endeavors to "pull together inter-disciplinary teams for a common goal" and its savvy "regional approach" that looks at the relationship between each region to provide more thoughtful and effective solutions.