Community Safety

Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant

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Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant

About

The Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant aims to improve accessible and affordable housing. This grant supports the development of comprehensive plans to revitalize severely distressed public housing and/or HUD-assisted housing and the surrounding neighborhood. Communities will develop a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy, or Transformation Plan, to achieve the program’s three core goals: 1) Housing: Replacing severely distressed public and HUD-assisted housing with high-quality mixed-income housing that is well-managed and responsive to the needs of the surrounding neighborhood; 2) People: Improving outcomes of households living in the target housing related to income and employment, health, and education); and 3) Neighborhood: Creating 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.

Eligible Uses

This grant is specifically for planning activities. There is a seperate implementation grant. 

Grant Award

Minimum: $0

Maximum: $500,000

Eligible
Recipients

County governments, public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities, nonprofits with 501(c)(3) status, Native American tribal governments, and city or township governments

Restrictions

This grant has a 5% matching requirement. 

Due Date

July 28, 2022. This grant has been repeated previously.

Agency

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Materials Needed

Unknown

Application Difficulty

Unknown

Evidence on Investments in Safe, Supportive, Affordable Housing

Having stable housing is essential for economic and social stability. Having high-quality, stable, integrated housing also makes all community residents safer and better able to thrive. 

Evidence shows that having affordable, safe, and stable housing is essential for safer communities. Structural home repairs in low income housing results in decreased crime. In Philadelphia, housing repair intervention in low income neighborhoods resulted in a 21.9% decrease in crime. At the local level, increasing access to affordable housing by building more low-income housing units results in significant reductions in violent crime. Reducing socio-economic segregation of neighborhoods—such as through housing vouchers that enable low-income families to move to neighborhoods of opportunity—has been shown to reduce youth arrests for violent crime. A program to subsidize the construction of rental housing for low-income residents in high poverty areas was associated with a significant decline in robberies and aggravated assault. 

Moreover, permanent housing subsidies have been found to reduce rates of intimate partner violence, especially for families with more complex psychological needs. Research shows that targeted interventions for children who have suffered from lead poisoning—including lead abatement, medical care, and public assistance—have long-term positive impacts, including a reduction in future arrests for violent offenses.  Other research has found that having stable and safe housing decreases the likelihood of committing a crime. In Philadelphia, a project to remediate abandoned homes was associated with a 39 percent reduction in firearm assaults and, given the low cost associated with the remodels, returned hundreds of dollars for every dollar invested in the program. 

In summary, ensuring that individuals have access to stable housing is the bedrock of community safety.  Interventions which increase the size of the housing stock, improve its quality, subsidize rent, or otherwise make it possible for more people and families to be safely housed will go a long way towards reducing violence and harm. This section will highlight several grant streams which can go towards ensuring more safe and stable housing in your community. 

Evidence on Investments in Built Design

Over the years, research has shown that basic investments in built design—in streetlights, parks, road design, public transportation, and addressing vacant lots—has significant implications for community safety. Decades of criminology research has found a link between built design and residents’ safety. This growing body of literature should influence how urban planners and local policymakers leverage our most basic resource: the design of our physical space.

Overall, the design of urban spaces has been shown to have crime-reducing effects. Recent studies in multiple jurisdictions, including PhiladelphiaBaltimore, and Youngstown, have found that maintaining green space reduces certain types of crime. A rigorous study found that restoring vacant land in cities significantly improves both local residents’ perception of their safety, as well as their actual physical safety. Restoration projects produced large reductions in crime, including a 30 percent reduction in gun violence. Increasing public transportation options for residents has a direct effect on economic opportunities, while reducing certain types of crime, and reducing traffic congestion may lower rates of domestic violence in areas with high congestion. In New York City, research demonstrated that streetlights can reduce “index crimes”—including murder, robbery, aggravated assault, and some property crimes—by more than a third. And improving streets and sidewalks so that they enhance pedestrian safety has been shown to reduce crime. 

In short, the evidence makes clear that by carefully considering our physical space and letting community members drive improvements that they feel to keep them safe, we can make significant progress toward reducing violence and other harms. 

Grant Writing Resources

Grants.Gov Resources

Applicant Training Videos (step-by-step guide on how to find grants, set up an account on grants.gov, and submit an application)

Applicant FAQ page

Other Resources

Community Toolbox’s Applying For Grants Toolkit (Outline of process + example applications)

FAQs

Q: What is community safety? 

A: We use the term “community safety” as well as “non-carceral safety” to indicate an approach to reducing violence and harm that invests in people over punishment. This can include unarmed civilian first responders and community violence prevention, but must also center preventative and root-caused focused solutions such as investments in schools, healthcare, and the environment. These solutions not only create holistic safety by improving well-being, they have been directly tied to reductions in violence. 

Q: How do the grants in the American Rescue Plan and other recent bills fit into this database? 

A: This database contains grants contained both in specific legislation (like the American Rescue Plan Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs act, and the Inflation Reduction act) but it focuses primarily on grants funded annually through the federal budget process. Please see our resources specifically on ARPA and IIJA for more information on funding opportunities in those bills. 

Q: Where should I go if I have additional questions? 

A: Feel free to reach out to samwashington@civilrightscorps.org with questions or comments. If you’d like to suggest a grant, please fill out this form

 

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