ORLANDO, Fla. -- During the Annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Acting Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research, Erika Poethig, and Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, Matt Erskine, announced that the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative will be allocating $11 million in grants to assist economically challenged municipalities in creating long term economic development plans, as well as fund the establishment of the SC2 National Resource Network; which will provide a single portal for short term technical assistance on a variety of operational and programmatic issues.
“In March, President Obama announced the creation of the White House Council on SC2, which is all about furthering the initiative’s charge to develop creative ways to improve the way the Federal government engages locally and we are seeing results being delivered,” said Mark Zuckerman, Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council. “These new features of SC2 provide local governments with flexible tools and resources to build upon their foundation for a brighter economic future. We look forward to continuing our place-based work to revitalize communities and drive innovation in America’s cities.”
The U.S. Economic Development Administration will launch a groundbreaking $6 million SC2Challenge to help economically challenged cities leverage innovative strategies to spur local economic and job growth. This economic development challenge, the first of its kind sponsored by a federal agency, will start with the competitive selection of six cities, one in each of EDA’s regions. These winning cities will then conduct a challenge in which teams will compete to provide the city with a comprehensive innovative economic development plan. The cities will each receive investments of up to $1 million to award as prizes to the winning teams.
“The SC2 Challenge is a critical pillar of the Obama Administration’s SC2 initiative, which is working to connect government resources directly with communities to create jobs, improve the business climate, and address local and regional challenges,” said Erskine. “This competition is an important intergovernmental collaboration and will empower local leaders to identify and leverage bottom up strategies to strengthen their local economic ecosystems.”
In addition, HUD is releasing an advance notice of funding availability for public input from stakeholders and municipalities on the SC2 National Resource Network, which will aggregate public and private resources to provide a broader set of cities, towns and regions access to a single portal for national experts and federal resources. These experts will provide holistic policy and implementation support, particularly on fundamental issues like operational efficiency, a key element to helping communities achieve their visions for economic development and job creation. The Network will work with each government to document their needs and deliver timely assistance to qualifying communities. HUD will use the input to finalize the components included in the final NOFA, which will allocate $5 million to an intermediary organization that will be responsible for administering the services of the SC2 Network.
“HUD and EDA’s goal is to maximize the impact that SC2 can have in economically distressed communities, and we are achieving that through the leveraging of our investments in SC2. The six economic development plans that will emerge from the EDA’s challenge will create a long term vision of economic prosperity in these places, and the SC2 National Resource Network will be able to not only help cities achieve these visions, but also provide tailored assistance to other cities on demand,” said Erika Poethig, HUD Acting Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development