Monday, August 8, 2011

Aug. 11-12 NEA webcasts address HUD Sustainable Housing and Communities grants

Press release from Victoria Hutter at the NEA. Contact or 202-682-5692:


$123 Million in Funding is Available through HUD’s Community Challenge Grant Program and
HUD’s Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program

Nonprofit arts organizations are invited to attend two webcasts about funding opportunities through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities (OSHC).  OSHC recently issued two Notices of Funding Availability (NOFA) for their FY 2011 Community Challenge Grants Program ($95 million in grants available) and FY 2011 Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program ($28 million available).

Guidelines and application information:
Community Challenge Grants Program Deadline is September 9, 2011.
Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program Pre-application deadline is August 25, 2011.

The webcasts will be hosted by OSHC staff to provide overviews of the respective programs followed by time for viewers to ask questions. People interested in watching the webcast should log onto one hour before the webcast start time for a link to the presentation.

Webcast Schedule
August 11, 3:30 – 4:30 PM EDT: Community Challenge Planning Grant program
August 12, 1:00 – 2:00 PM EDT: Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program

Program Descriptions

The Community Challenge Grants Program (CC) provides grants to enable communities in fostering reform and reducing barriers to achieving affordable, economically vital, and sustainable communities. Such efforts may include amending or replacing local master plans, zoning codes, and building codes, either on a jurisdiction-wide basis or in a specific neighborhood, district, corridor, or sector to promote mixed-use development, affordable housing, the reuse of older buildings and structures for new purposes, and similar activities with the goal of promoting sustainability at the local or neighborhood level. This Program also supports the development of affordable housing, including artist housing, through the development and adoption of inclusionary zoning ordinances and other activities such as acquisition of land for affordable housing projects.

Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program (SCRP) provides grants to help improve regional planning efforts that integrate housing and transportation decisions, and increase state, regional, and local capacity to incorporate livability, sustainability, and social equity values into land use plans and zoning. The program supports metropolitan and multi-jurisdictional planning efforts through a consortium-based model that brings together numerous groups including arts- and design-based organizations to inform the planning process. 

Program Background and Results from Year One
Both programs, now in their second year build on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, an innovative interagency collaboration, launched by President Obama in June 2009, between HUD, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide more sustainable housing and transportation choices for families and lay the foundation for a 21st century economy.  For the first time last year, HUD and NEA co-convened the nonprofit arts community around funding opportunities. The SCRP program was the first NOFA that contained language encouraging arts organizations to participate in the consortia submitting applications.

As a result, four grants awarded through the SCRP program had arts organizations among its partners, including the City of Tampa, Florida that received a $1,181,250 grant to create a Primary Transit Corridor Master Plan to promote efficiency and better define a distinctive sense of place. Partner arts organizations were the David A Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Arts Council Hillsborough County, Tampa Theatre Foundation, and the University of South Florida College of the Arts.

Four grants from the CC program had arts organizations among its partners including the City of Providence, Rhode Island that was awarded $910,000 for the Transportation Corridors to Livable Communities project to improve transit service in the city. The city partnered with two community-based arts organizations—New Urban Arts and Community MusicWorks—and AS220, a nationally recognized arts organization that has built affordable housing.

About the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to sustaining homeownership; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at

About the National Endowment for the Arts
The NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts – both new and established – bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest annual national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit

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