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In December, U.S. Housing and Urban
Development Secretary Julián Castro announced that the Near North Side won a highly competitive $29.5 Million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant! 

The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative recognizes that complete neighborhood transformation is required to improve the lives of residents in distressed neighborhoods.  In order to achieve the goal of complete neighborhood transformation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awards planning grants to help communities create a comprehensive plan to revitalize a target public housing site and the surrounding neighborhood, and to empower the families that live there.

In May of 2016, the City of St. Louis in partnership with McCormack Baron Salazar and Urban Strategies applied for a Choice Implementation Grant. Key strategies within the plan include a brand new Jonas Hubbard Jr. Family Center, bolstering the Financial Empowerment Center at Prosperity Connection's Excel Center with counseling for building savings and reducing debt, a revolving home repair and down payment assistance program, and a loan fund for small business loans.

In 2014, Urban Strategies, in partnership with the City of St. Louis, the St. Louis Community Development Administration, the St. Louis Housing Authority, and McCormack Baron Salazar collaborated to undertake a community-based process to develop a Transformation Plan to revitalize the Near North Side neighborhood.  On January 16, 2015 HUD awarded St. Louis a $500,000 Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Planning Grant to launch the effort, one of seven planning grants awarded of 51 applications nationwide.  Additionally, CNI Planning Grants are required to leverage significant local resources.  With more than 30 local supporters, the Near North Side Planning Initiative is expected to leverage $645,177.

Urban Strategies is utilizing granted and additional leveraged funds to coordinate an extensive neighborhood planning process with all critical stakeholders to create a comprehensive neighborhood transformation plan. The Near North Side Choice Transformation plan will address the physical housing, supportive services, and neighborhood revitalization needs of all neighborhood residents.  The Near North Side Choice Transformation Plan will build on the existing stable and affordable housing platform McCormack Baron Salazar has created and will link to the innovative Northside Regeneration efforts.

A Near North Side Transformation Plan has been created. To view please click here: Transformation Plan

Please click to view the following Choice Implementation Application Submissions:

Executive Summary

The People Strategy Submission

The Neighborhood Narrative Submission

The Neighborhood Strategy Submission

The Housing Strategy Submission  


Plan Priorities

CNI Planning Grants help communities transform struggling neighborhoods through strategies that address three core goals:

  1. Housing: Replace Distressed public housing with high-quality mixed-income housing that is well-managed and responsive to the needs of the surrounding neighborhood:

  2. People: improve educational outcomes and intergenerational mobility for youth, with services and supports delivered directly to youth and their families: and

  3. Neighborhood: Create the conditions necessary for public and private reinvestment in distressed neighborhoods to offer the kinds of amenities and assets, including safety, good schools, and commercial activity, that are important to families’ choices about their community.