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August 31, 2011
SEATTLE HOUSING AUTHORITY WINS $10.27 MILLION IN HUD CHOICE NEIGHBORHOODS TO BEGIN TRANSFORMATION OF YESLER TERRACE
President Obama says HUD grant helps "ensure that all families can access the quality affordable housing, safe streets, and good schools they need to compete in the 21st century economy."
SEATTLE - U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Mayor Mike McGinn, Seattle Housing Authority Executive Director Tom Tierney and HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Mary McBride today announced that the Seattle Housing Authority has won a $10.27 million HUD Choice Neighborhoods to begin a 15-year, $2 billion transformation of Yesler Terrace, a neighborhood adjacent to the City's central business district.
Seattle is one of just five cities nationwide to win a first-ever HUD Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants under HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, a new strategic approach intended to help transform high-poverty, distressed neighborhoods into communities with healthy, affordable housing, safe streets, and access to quality educational opportunities. Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, and San Francisco are the other cities to win Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants.
The transformation of Yesler Terrace will be the latest project of this sort undertaken by the Seattle Housing Authority which, also using HUD and other funds, has transformed the High Point, New Holly, Rainier Vista and Lake City sections of Seattle.
"We'll win the future only if we can ensure that people in every community - even those living in our most troubled neighborhoods - have access to the American Dream," said President Barack Obama. "With HUD's Choice Neighborhoods grants, my Administration has brought local communities an innovative new tool to ensure that all families can access the quality affordable housing, safe streets, and good schools they need to compete in the 21st century economy."
"This is a great day for Seattle and the countless families who will benefit from the transformation this funding will bring to Yesler Terrace," said Secretary Donovan. "Choice Neighborhoods recognizes that we must link affordable housing with quality schools, public transportation, good jobs and safe streets. This is the next generation of neighborhood revitalization that not only transforms distressed housing, but heals entire communities."
"I am so glad that the Seattle Housing Authority has been awarded this grant to invest in our community and revitalize Yesler Terrace for local families," said Senator Murray. "I worked closely with HUD to get the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative off the ground to help transform struggling communities across the country. And I was so proud to work with HUD and the City of Seattle to bring this investment to Yesler Terrace and the families who will benefit from the healthier and stronger neighborhood this grant will help build. This project will bring together partners like the housing authority, local schools, and the workforce development council-and it is a great example of how much we can accomplish when we leverage public and private resources and work together to support our communities."
"Today we took an important step towards fulfilling the promise of Yesler Terrace," said Mayor McGinn. "It's a promise to deliver more affordable housing, safer streets, quality education and access to reliable transit to a community that deserves it."
"Choice Neighborhoods provides funds to improve the lives of children and families in our most distressed neighborhoods and we're pleased to see their work continue through these implementation grants," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
"This is a significant catalyst to move the Yesler Terrace project into action," said Housing Authority Executive Director Tierney. "It shows us that HUD sees the need for renewal in this neighborhood and affirms the vision that we have put forward to make this a full neighborhood transformation, not just a renewal of the housing. This funding will allow us to begin building new, low-income housing in the neighborhood and initiate education and job services with our community partners."
"This is the right investment of public resources" said Regional Administrator Mary McBride. The Seattle Housing Authority, along with their partners, have a long, successful tradition of building effective private-public partnerships that transform areas experiencing stress into strong, vibrant neighborhoods where people want to live, work, raise their families and realize their dreams. With the award of this Choice Neighborhoods grant, Seattle can now do the same for Yesler Terrace, providing those who call it home with great schools, safe streets, affordable housing and a strong retail and business community. I am proud that, HUD is coming in on the ground floor as a partner in building the "new" Yesler Terrace."
In consultation with local residents, businesses and community organizations, the Housing Authority has developed a 15-year plan to transform the Yesler Terrace neighborhood with nearly $2 billion in public and private investments to expand the affordable housing stock, strengthen schools and increase educational opportunities, expand employment opportunities and address public safety concerns.
The Yesler Terrace transformation plan calls for the replacement of Yesler Terrace's 561 public housing units, with the addition of as many as 6,000 mixed-income housing units. It also include3s expanded retail, education and health care facilities as well as improved parks, urban agriculture, transportation infrastructures and other community resources. As part of the overall neighborhood transformation effort, the Housing Authority intends to leverage and build on existing neighborhood assets including a high-quality public transit system, schools, and medical centers to create a mixed-income, transit oriented community with access to employment, services and recreation.
The Housing Authority is partnering with Seattle University to create a network of educational supports for children to increase learning. The partnerships will work to increase the number of children enrolled in evidence-based early learning programs, the number of children entering kindergarten ready to learn, and the number of youth who graduate from high school and are ready for college. In addition to the University, some other key partners in the transformation plan include the City of Seattle, Seattle Public Schools, Neighborcare Health, Neighborhood House, Workforce Development Council, Seattle Department of Transportation, Perry Rose Development, United Way and others..
Choice Neighborhoods (Choice) promotes a comprehensive approach to transforming distressed areas of concentrated poverty into viable and sustainable mixed-income neighborhoods. Building on the successes of HUD's HOPE VI Program, Choice links housing improvements with a wide variety of public services and neighborhood improvements to create neighborhoods of opportunity.
Seattle as well as the other four grantees have completed comprehensive local planning processes, and are now implementing plans to redevelop their neighborhoods. They had to demonstrate their ability to revitalize severely distressed public and/or assisted housing while bringing together the partnerships and resources to create high-quality public schools, outstanding education and early learning programs, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs and well-functioning services.
The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is a centerpiece of the Obama Administration's interagency Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative - a collaboration between the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Education, Justice, Treasury, and Health and Human Services (HHS) to support the ability of local leaders from the public and private sectors and attract the private investment needed to transform distressed neighborhoods into sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods with the affordable housing, safe streets and good schools every family needs.
As a result of partnerships across those agencies, the Obama Administration has made it easier for local leaders using Choice Neighborhoods to redevelop their neighborhoods to also access support for cradle-to-career educational programs through the Education Department's Promise Neighborhoods, public safety strategies through the Justice Department, and community health center improvements through HHS.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.