Category: White House

What President Obama’s budget proposal means for federal community development programs

Earlier today President Obama released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2015, focusing on economic growth, job creation for the middle class, and fiscal responsibility.

An important part of the administration’s priorities includes improving infrastructure and investing in urban and community development. Three federal agencies carry the brunt of that workload, and here is how the president’s proposal would affect each of them.

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Statement in response to President Obama’s call for homeownership support in the 2014 State of the Union address

Responding to President Obama’s call to keep “the dream of homeownership alive for future generations of Americans,” Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoff Anderson issued the following statement:

President Obama is doing the nation a great service by bringing attention to the urgent need to help American families invest in their first home. As he said last night, even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working hard just to get by—let alone get ahead.

Homeownership can help families build wealth and plays a significant role in the economic security of America’s middle class, but the federal government could do more to help families reach this goal.


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Will the first Promise Zones also be the last?

Later today at the White House, President Obama will announce the first ever Promise Zone communities.

Promise Zones explore new strategies to bolster local economies. From education to housing to job creation, the program helps communities find creative solutions to their challenges—and that’s something every town and city can learn from.

Voice your support for community innovation: Send a letter to Congress today.

Today, Congress is debating whether communities will be able to keep doing this work.

The House and the Senate are still negotiating fiscal year 2014′s federal budget—including important programs that support community development.

Promise Zones are just one of the many federal initiatives that could be hampered—or eliminated—when Congress reaches a final budget deal.

Tell Congress to support programs like Promise Zones: Send a letter to your representatives today.

San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma—the first five Promise Zone communities—will get new resources to help them grow stronger from the ground up.

Federal programs have helped hundreds of other communities—and can help hundreds more—but Congress needs to hear from you to make it happen. Take a minute and send a letter today.

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Five Local Leaders Council members join President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience

Local Leaders Council at the White HouseLocal Leaders Council members Mayor James Brainard and Mayor Ralph Becker (center) at a meeting of the President’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience last week. Photo via the Office of Governor Neil Abercrombie.

Congratulations to the five members of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council who have been appointed to President Obama’s new Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, a group of 26 state, local and tribal leaders from around the country charged with advising the Administration on how the federal government can respond to the needs of communities dealing with the impacts of climate change.

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What President Obama’s budget proposal means for community development programs

Crossposted from The Atlantic Cities

President Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2014, released this morning, focuses on economic growth and a strong middle class. Better urban development isn’t the first item on that agenda, but it’s an important part of the administration’s priorities for the coming year.

Three agencies in particular are at the core of that work, with offices dedicated to making sure community development contributes to regional and national economic growth. The president’s 2014 budget would change how each of these agencies invest in community development. Here’s how it breaks down:

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) would see a significant increase in funds for neighborhood revitalization through $400 million in funding for the Choice Neighborhoods program (up from $120 million appropriated in 2012). The budget cuts funding for the Community Development Block Grant program to $2.8 billion (down from $3.241 billion in 2012), but includes $200 million in new competitive funding to reduce and repurpose vacant and blighted properties and create jobs in communities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis.

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Smart Growth America statement on President Obama’s FY 2014 budget proposal

In response to President Obama’s proposed FY 2014 budget released today, Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoff Anderson released the following statement:

“Building strong communities is a key part of America’s economic growth, and I applaud the President for investing in programs that do just that in his FY 2014 budget.

“Investments in infrastructure and “fix it first” projects will help businesses compete in the 21st century economy and will help working Americans get where they need to go more easily and more efficiently.

“This budget’s commitment to investing in—and encouraging private investment in—chronically distressed communities will help whole regions become more prosperous. Strategies like this, that reinvest in existing neighborhoods, also help communities build in ways that are more economically resilient.

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Washington Update: With 2013 budget finalized, talks begin for 2014 funding levels

Federal budget

Intense budget negotiations in Washington over the past few weeks have made little reference to funding for the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities. But Congress is already discussing next year’s budget, and now is the time to weigh in on future spending.

On March 26, President Obama signed into law a final Fiscal Year 2013 spending package which retained the automatic $85 billion in spending cuts known as the sequester. Most federal agencies—including HUD, DOT and EPA—will have to make reductions in spending by the end of FY 2013 on September 30th, 2013.

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Smart growth and the State of the Union

In advance of President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight, we’re taking a look at the state of the administration’s work on development in the United States.

2012 saw a number of stellar advancements in federal policies that coordinate land use, housing and transportation. A number of federal programs as well as improvements to existing ones are helping communities across the country develop in ways that are cost efficient and promote broader economic growth.

The ongoing work of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities is the foremost example of this. The Partnership is an innovative program that helps communities more effectively coordinate federal housing, transportation, water, and other infrastructure investments. This work helps make neighborhoods more economically resilient, allows people to live closer to jobs, saves households time and money, and supports municipal budgets.

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