Choice Neighborhoods

About Choice Neighborhoods

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development  created the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI) and grant program in 2010 to address the unrecognized challenges to the ability of poor families and children to access opportunities and move up the economic ladder. CNI helps communities address assisted and vacant housing units, while investing in people and neighborhood assets, to transform neighborhoods of distress into revitalized mixed-income neighborhoods. CNI employs a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. The program helps communities transform neighborhoods by revitalizing severely distressed public and/or assisted housing and investing and leveraging investments in well-functioning services, high quality public schools and education programs, high quality early learning programs and services, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs.

Our CNI Experience

Building upon the lessons of public housing transformation through more than 20 years of work with HOPE VI revitalization efforts, Urban Strategies has developed and demonstrated expertise in planning, implanting and supporting Choice Neighborhood Initiatives.  From planning and technical assistance to implementation, we are currently engaged in Choice Neighborhoods work in five communities since the introduction of the program by HUD in 2010.

In 2011, Urban Strategies was awarded as the people implementer for two of the first ever Choice Neighborhood Initiative grants resulting in over $9 million in supportive services funding for families, and nearly $52 million in housing and neighborhood revitalization funds. Urban Strategies was an integral part of two teams awarded Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants out of only five finalists.

Urban Strategies has since been awarded CNI Implementation awards in five additional cities including San Antonio, Texas (2012); Columbus, Ohio (2014); Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2014); Louisville, Kentucky and St. Louis, Missouri (2016).

Our CNI Achievements

  • More than $270 million in Choice Implementation Grant Awards in 5 cities
  • Over $22 million in support services funding for families in CNI program areas
  • $1 million in Choice Planning grant awards in 2 cities

Our CNI Cities

Urban Strategies currently supports five cities that are implementing CNI grants and serves as the lead implementer for people strategies. In each of these cities, Urban Strategies helps local partners harness their capacity to serve vulnerable families, and ensures that all human service components are coordinated and aligned with the overall goals and timeline of the physical redevelopment. With each community’s unique characteristics in mind, we always ensure resident and partner engagement, human capital assessment, plans for timely and goal oriented interventions through case management and family supports, and resource development.

San Francisco, California: Alice Griffith
New Orleans, Louisiana: Iberville/Treme
San Antonio, TX: Wheatley Courts
Columbus, OH: Poindexter Village/Near East Side
Pittsburgh, PA: Larimar/East Liberty
Memphis, TN: South City/Foote Homes
Sacramento, CA: River District - Railyards
St. Louis, MO: Near North Side/ Preservation Square
  • Award Amount:  $29,575,000
  • Development Details:  Plan for the replacement of 758 units of distressed housing in the Beecher Terrace public housing complex. Plans for the neighborhood include an eCommerce Business Incubator, a media-production center, small business loans and homeowner rehabilitation programs.
  • People Strategy: Urban Strategies leads the human capital and supportive services efforts, connecting people to education, job-training, jobs and other opportunities to meet critical needs
  • Initiative Team and Key Partners: Jefferson County Public Schools,  McCormack Baron Salazar, Louisville Central Community Center, KY Center for African American Heritage,  Louisville Urban League (LUL),  Community Ventures, New Directions Housing Corp., Telesis,  KentuckianaWorks, University of Louisville, Seed Capital KY, St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, Choose Russell, Beecher Terrace Resident Council, Park DuValle Health Center, Louisville Urban League, The Healing Place, TARC, Louisville Metro Police Department, YouthBuild Louisville, Metro United Way, James Graham Brown Foundation, Humana Foundation and Urban Strategies, Inc.