Friday, July 24, 2009

HUD Secretary Donovan Cites Successful DC Area HOPE VI Models for Choice Neighborhoods Initiative

At the Solutions for Working Families: 2009 Learning Conference on State and Local Housing Policy, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan spoke about a few program proposals that are in developmental stages at the agency, including the recently introduced Choice Neighborhoods Initiative.

In an effort to further address this issue, Donovan joined former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros at the National Press Club on July 14, in Washington, DC, to highlight the release of a new Brookings Institution book From Despair to Hope, which was co-edited by Cisneros.

The book recounts the history and rationale of HUD’s HOPE VI program, which was initiated in 1993 to redevelop blighted public housing projects and help revitalize the surrounding communities. The book also examines the successes and shortcomings of the HOPE VI program, providing an instructive look to the future for HUD’s redevelopment and community revitalization activities.

Donovan discussed how HUD could expand and improve upon HOPE VI, and how these efforts are reflected in HUD’s proposed successor program to HOPE VI, the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, which was introduced in May as part of the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Request.

The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative goes beyond the redevelopment of outdated, physically deteriorated public housing communities, which was the focus of HOPE VI. Choice Neighborhoods targets comprehensive community revitalization efforts that incorporate early childhood education, family economic self-sufficiency, green building and energy efficiency components. In addition to public housing, the Initiative will also target privately-owned properties assisted by HUD. The initiative includes a request for $250 million in the FY 2010 budget, which is a $130 million increase over the HOPE VI budget for 2009.

Donovan also emphasized how potential projects under the Initiative could be modeled after some of the most successful HOPE VI projects, which tended to take a comprehensive approach to revitalizing the surrounding communities – including the development of new, improved schools; creation of parks and other recreational spaces; and better transportation features that allow residents better access to jobs and services. “It's not a coincidence,” Donovan said, “that the most successful mixed-income, mixed use projects looked beyond the front gates of the new development.”

While Donovan cited multiple model projects across the country, he went into particular detail about the HOPE VI revitalization efforts that have taken place in Washington, DC’s Washington Highlands neighborhood. These efforts represented both the success of the HOPE VI program and its limitations. Although some of the neighborhood’s distressed public housing communities were eligible for HOPE VI funding, other communities – demonstrating just as great a need – did not qualify for program funding, simply because they were subsidized by different programs at HUD.

Donovan commented on how this evidenced the need for an improved version of HOPE VI: “That's why we've introduced our Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, to help public, private and nonprofit partners extend neighborhood transformation efforts beyond public housing - as they are already doing on their own, in spite of the fact that their government is often a barrier.”

To learn more about the model projects in Washington Highlands and other nearby Washington, DC, neighborhoods, please view the documents below. Additionally, we invite you to use the comment section below to share examples of other HOPE VI success stories that can serve as models for the new Choice Neighborhoods Initiative.

Model Neighborhoods in Washington, DC:

Washington Highlands Neighborhood

Small Neighborhood Concentration of Subsidized Housing: The Case of Washington Highlands
U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research
Release Date: December 1994
Download PDF

Regional Report: Wheeler Terrace Beats the Odds
Affordable Housing Finance
Release Date: January 2009
Download

Wheeler Creek Estates: History and Project Summary
District of Columbia Housing Authority
Download PDF

The Overlook at Oxon Run: Project Summary
Community Preservation and Development Corporation
Download PDF


Congress Heights Neighborhood

Henson Ridge: History and Project Summary
District of Columbia Housing Authority
Download PDF

The Magnolia at Asheford Overview
Download

The Villages of Parklands Fact Sheet
William C. Smith & Co.
Download

The Townhomes at Oxon Creek Fact Sheet
William C. Smith & Co.
Download

The Shops at Park Village Fact Sheet
William C. Smith & Co.
Download

Archer Park Fact Sheet
William C. Smith & Co.
Download

Park Vista Fact Sheet
William C. Smith & Co.
Download


Oxon Run Neighborhood

Town Hall Education Arts and Recreation Campus (THEARC) Project Fact Sheet
William C. Smith & Co.
Download PDF

4 comments:

Conrad Egan said...

Choice Neighborhoods is a big step to the comprehensive rejuvenation of communities that need to adress the revitalization of both public and private owned complexes in a way that links to better education, cultural opportunities and transportation such as has occurred in the Washington Highlands and Congress Heights community of Washington DC. Leveraging the scarce CN funds is critical. Also need to retain the focus on revitalizing Public Housing complexes.

Conrad Egan, NHC

Conrad Egan said...

Let me offer these initial thoughts about some lessons learned in the Washington Highlands and Congress Heights communities that may enlighten the Choice Neighborhoods policy process:

1. These neighborhood transformational efforts need time and patience to mature. This one has been underway for 15 years, with more to come.

2. The supportive for profit sector is essential. Without Chris Smith's substantial commitment through the William C. Smith Co., this would not have happened --- starting with his initial investment in Parklands and his sustained commitment to advancing the community's continued growth and vitality via many additional developments of varying types. The development teams for Wheeler Creek Estates and Henson Ridge performed superbly.

3. The not for profit sector is vital too. The Community Preservation and Development Corporation revitalized three significant privately owned affordable rental developments --- Southern Ridge, Wheeler Terrace and The Overlook at Oxon Run. LISC and Enterprise Community Partners have invested significant resources.

4. Significant public investment is critical. Two large FHA MF REO upfront grants (Sky Tower and Ridge Crest), two massive Hope VI grants (Stanton Dwellings/Frederick Douglas and Valley Green) that have now become Henson Ridge, Wheeler Creek Estates and Walter E. Washington Estates. Significant additional investments were made from the LIHTC and HOME programs and DC’s Housing Trust Fund and additional resources. DC's key public agencies --- DCHA, DHCD and DCHFA --- have shown high levels of professionalism, vigor and support.

5. Strong commercial revitalization must be a part --- a la the former Camp Simms site which is now a prominent commercial core called The Shops at Park Village that includes a GIANT Super Market and many additional retail establishments.

6. Market rate housing must be present, a la Oxon Creek and such other similar developments as the Asheford and the pending Archer Park and Park Vista developments.

7. Civic life needs to be enthusiastically uplifted --- witness THEARC, which has powerful private sector financial support.

8. Yet to be determined, but important, is the impact of the nearby METRO stations at Congress Heights and Southern Avenue. There is an effort currently underway by CPDC and WCS to better link transport within the community.

9. HUD leadership is essential. It needs to support and guide the neighborhood leadership in a constructive manner.

10. The local clergy is powerfully determinative.
11. Good design is critical. The community, with the benefit of expert guidance by Ray Gindroz, designed Wheeler Creek Estates into what is regarded as one of the best of DC's HOPE VI developments.

12. All the partners need to be on the team. This particular effort was blessed by extraordinary cooperation amongst HUD, DCHA, DHCD, DCHFA, WCSmith, CPDC, Enterprise, LISC and many others.

13. Good analysis must be a part. Witness the 1994 HUD report that established the base line. Need good ways to document and analyze progress.

14. Remaining challenges: Confronting the educational gulf; revitalizing Highland Additions ( a remaining low rise public housing complex) ; eliminating the strip store cancer on Wheeler Road; and more ..........


Conrad Egan, NHC

National Housing Conference said...

Another example of a city that has flourished under the HOPE VI program is Memphis, TN. The Memphis Daily News recently chronicled the success of public housing redevelopment efforts there, specifically through the introduction of mixed-use developments. Additionally, HUD Deputy Secretary Ronald Sims said that Memphis is on the "cutting-edge" of such revitalization. To learn more about how these initiatives have positively impacted Memphis, please read the full article from the Memphis Daily News: http://www.memphisdailynews.com/editorial/Article.aspx?id=43895

mike pitchford said...

The evolution of HOPE VI to Choice Neighborhoods will take a proven redevelopment tool to a new level with great efffect. The best HOPE VI redevelopments, across the country, had neighborhood revitalization benefits well beyond their footprints. The opportunity to look at a broader neighborhood, not limited to the presence of public housing as a cornerstone, opens many more communities to the benefits of a HOPE VI like transition.

The District neighborhoods of Washington Highlands and Congress Heights have already benefited from HOPE VI transactions and considerable additional revitalization investment. There exists the very real opportunity to complete these transitions with appropriate applications of Choice Neighborhoods funding.