The US Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded the Flint Housing Commission and the City of Flint a 2022 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant in the amount of $500,000. The funding will support engagement with residents of River Park Apartments, the surrounding community, and other community stakeholders to develop a comprehensive Transformation Plan.
Flint was the first city in Michigan to receive a Choice Neighborhoods Planning grant and an Implementation grant. Flint is now the first community in Michigan to receive a second Planning grant.
HUD received 31 applications for the 2022 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant competition from across the nation and awarded nine grants totaling $4,409,000.
River Park Apartments is located just down the road from the recently approved and highly contested Ajax asphalt plant on Carpenter Rd. Community leaders and residents in the area expressed their concerns through 340 comments about the threat of reduced air quality and increased noise and heavy vehicle traffic in the neighborhood. The area east of I-475 and around River Park is also isolated from quality retail, schools, infrastructure, and other services that support a robust community.
These conditions spurred a collaboration between the Flint Housing Commission and the City of Flint to develop a holistic approach to improve the area around River Park Apartments. The North Flint Target Area for this project is bounded by Dupont St. to the west, Stewart Ave. to the south, Carpenter Rd. to the north, and Branch Rd. to the east.
This Planning Grant will not cover hard costs of construction, but the resulting Transformation Plan will put the Housing Commission and the City in a strong position to pursue additional funding, such as a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant that can be as much as $50 million.
River Park Apartments residents and community members will be engaged throughout the process of creating the Transformation Plan. While one possibility might be the development of new quality affordable and mixed-income housing for all or a portion of River Park in other areas within North Flint—similar to the outcome of the first Choice Neighborhoods project for South Flint and Atherton East—the final plans have not been decided and will be developed through collaboration with the community.
The Flint Housing Commission and the City of Flint, under the leadership of the Executive Director Harold S. Ince, Jr. and Mayor Sheldon Neeley respectively, look forward to engaging with the residents of River Park and the community to develop a plan to transform the North Flint community. This grant planning process will begin in early 2023 and will take place over the next two years. The Housing Commission and the City will also continue to work together to improve the quality and quantity of affordable housing options in the City of Flint.
“These types of grants are key to moving our community forward,” Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. “I want to commend our partners at the Flint Housing Commission who helped secure this grant opportunity. We’re excited to continue our work together, making sure that Flint residents have high quality affordable housing.”
Choice Neighborhoods supports the revitalization of communities through an emphasis on creating mixed-income housing and linking those housing investments with effective services for residents and physical neighborhood improvements. Through Planning Grants, local leaders, residents, and stakeholders, such as public housing authorities, cities, schools, police, business owners, nonprofits, and private developers, come together to create a community-driven Transformation Plan that addresses the Housing, People, and Neighborhood goals.
Housing: Replace distressed public and assisted housing with high-quality mixed-income housing that is well-managed and responsive to the needs of the surrounding neighborhood.
People: Improve educational outcomes and intergenerational mobility for youth with services and supports delivered directly to youth and their families.
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.
“Choice Neighborhoods grants are unlike any other – they are not just an investment in homes, they are an investment into entire communities,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “I look forward to seeing how the nine new Choice Neighborhoods communities use these grants to improve outcomes for education, health care, the economy, and overall quality of life for residents. These funds will make a real change for the people we serve, building safer, healthier communities for all.”