Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Programs; Notice of Funding Availability Announced by HUD

In a press release dated July 28, 2011, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced availability of funding for two grant programs to support local initiatives for sustainable development: the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program and the Community Challenge Planning Grant Program. While these programs are mainly designed for state and local governments and their subdivisions, tribal governments are explicitly eligible for the Community Challenge Program. Of the $28 million available for the Community Challenge Program, at least $3 million will be awarded to jurisdictions of less than 50,000 population.

The Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Community Challenge Planning Grant Program (not yet published in the FEDERAL REGISTER), is available on the HUD website: We have attached a copy of HUD’s “Frequently Asked Questions” for the Community Challenge Planning Grant Program. The deadline for applications is September 9, 2011.

As stated in the NOFA, the Community Challenge Planning Grant Program “fosters reform and reduces barriers to achieving affordable, economically vital, and sustainable communities. Such efforts may include amending or replacing local master plans, zoning codes, and building codes … 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.” The NOFA explains the range of eligible activities in more detail, and also explains the requirements for all applications and the criteria that will be used in selecting successful applicants. One key criterion is that the purpose of the project must be aligned with six “Livability Principles:” (1) Provide more transportation choices; (2) Promote equitable, affordable housing; (3) Enhance economic competitiveness; (4) Support existing communities; (5) Coordinate policies and leverage investment; and (6) Value communities and neighborhoods.

If you would like further information regarding the Community Challenge Planning Grant Program, please contact us.