Sacramento Scores $30 Million Choice Neighborhoods Grant
HUD Awards Sacramento $30 Million Choice Neighborhood Grant
Sacramento, California – September 28, 2015 – The. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced that the City of Sacramento and the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency have been awarded a $30 million Choice Neighborhood implementation grant. This announcement follows on the heels of Sacramento’s designation as a federal Promise Zone in April 2015 and notification that the City was one of nine finalists being considered from a competitive pool of 33 applicant-cities for the Choice Neighborhood implementation grants in July 2015. Valley Vision chief executive Bill Mueller served on the Transformation Steering Committee that led the development of the Transformation Plan, and ultimately the submission of the successful grant application.
The Promise Zone designation brings to high-poverty communities partnership with the federal government for investments to create jobs, leverage private investment, increase economic activity, expand educational opportunities, and reduce violent crime. The HUD Choice Neighborhoods Initiative helps communities transform neighborhoods by revitalizing severely distressed public housing and by leveraging and investing in well-functioning services, high quality public schools and education programs, high quality early learning programs and services, crime prevention strategies, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs.
HUD made the announcement on site at the Twin Rivers community. The announcement was made by Lourdes Castro Ramirez, principal deputy assistant secretary at HUD. Ms. Ramirez was joined by multiple local dignitaries including Sacramento mayor, Kevin Johnson; Sacramento city council members Steven Hansen and Jeff Harris; Phil Serna, chairman, Sacramento county board of supervisors; and La Shelle Dozier, executive director of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency. Congresswoman Doris Matsui, who was unable to attend, was noted as an instrumental force in supporting efforts that ultimately enabled Sacramento to secure the award.
The Twin Rivers community is located in the River District. The Choice Neighborhood Initiative requires a locally driven process in which community members identify their needs and participate in developing a vision for transforming their community into a thriving neighborhood of opportunity and choice. The $30 million implementation grant will support efforts to replace Sacramento County’s largest and oldest housing asset – the 218 public housing units in the Twin Rivers community – with a mixed-use housing development that provides a one-to-one replacement of all public housing units along with 134 workforce-rate and 185 market-rate units. Every $1 invested in Choice Neighborhoods leverages $9 in additional investments, which will amount to nearly $100 million in public-private investments in this community.
The Twin Rivers neighborhood itself is surrounded by a highway, a freeway, a homeless shelter and probation services, effectively isolating the community from surrounding areas, as noted by DeCoe Gilmore, a 15-year resident of Twin Rivers. Ms. Gilmore has been an active participant in the community planning effort and was invited to speak at the HUD announcement. Ms. Gilmore spoke about how excited the community is to see the transformation take place. Having personally raised 7-children in the neighborhood, 4 of whom have gone off to college and university and the remainder still school-age, Gilmore talked about the community’s anticipation of being connected with the rest of the city. Gilmore noted that while the nearest elementary school and the Boys and Girls Club are in near-proximity to the neighborhood, there are no safe routes for the community’s children to walk to these locations. Major public and private investment will bring to this community new housing, transportation access, retail amenities, and job opportunities that will effectively transform the area into a neighborhood of choice and opportunity.