Dr. Ben Carson
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Choice Neighborhoods Grants
Flint, Michigan
July 20, 2018

 

Thank you for joining us and let me especially thank Mayor Karen Weaver.

This is another part of being Secretary of HUD that I really enjoy -- helping communities and neighborhoods partner with the federal government to transform and improve the living conditions and quality of life for thousands of families.

The Choice Neighborhood Grants that we are announcing today -- for five select communities across the United States, with a combined total of $144 million – will be leveraged with other public and private agencies and organizations for additional millions of dollars.

Overall, for every dollar in Choice Neighborhood funding they receive, the awardees and their partners will leverage an additional nine dollars in funding for their proposals.

This is a win-win for everyone involved – from HUD to local governments, to community non-profit and faith-based groups, to the vulnerable families looking for a life of economic opportunity, independence, and hope for a better future.       

Our Choice Neighborhood grants are specifically focused upon three core goals:

In housing, we are looking to replace distressed properties with top quality mixed income housing.

For the families we serve, we are going to vastly improve the outcomes of households in these communities by connecting them with employment, health, and children’s education.

And for the neighborhoods chosen for the grants, we are planning to create the necessary conditions that will be conducive of investment that results in better schools, commercial activity, and other attractive development and amenities – all which are important to help stabilize and grow families.

Let me now turn to Flint.

Coming from Detroit, I’m no stranger to this city -- I have seen its growth and sadly its decline.

But Flint has a unique spirit, and that’s why we are announcing our Choice Neighborhood Grant awards here today -- because Flint refuses be defined by others, rather it should be known for its initiative and innovation. 

Flint has big ideas and plenty of hope and is an excellent choice to be a recipient of our $30 million grant – which will also leverage an additional $271 million through partnerships.

I firmly believe that Washington alone cannot meet all the challenges we face today – whether providing more low-income housing or helping our families reach financial independence.

As I have often said, at HUD, we believe that creating opportunities in our communities can never be the job of just one sector. All of us, whether in the public, private, or nonprofit space, must come together and work as a well-coordinated team.  

I’m sure this is one non-partisan idea that we can find common ground

So, what do we hope to achieve by our funding in Flint?  

First, The City and the Flint Housing Commission intend to demolish the aging Atherton East public housing development and replace it with a new mixed-income community -- one that is well-managed and responsive to the needs of its residents.

Second, local planners are working to improve the lives of Atherton East residents by locating their new housing closer to higher paying jobs, better schools, and other key amenities – like grocery stores. 

Third, the plan seeks to make neighborhood improvements, including building playgrounds to repurposing vacant lots. 

This is the kind of attention that creates the conditions needed to stimulate public and private reinvestment in distressed neighborhoods.

All together, we are taking another big step to help revitalize the city.

And let me add, to those families and neighborhoods which have rode out the hard times, we are going to help see that you not displaced by the good times that are surely to come from these investments and grants.

Thank you again for taking the time to join us today.   

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