Regional Commission Receives $625,000 Planning Grant from HUD Sustainable Communities Initiative

Roanoke, VA., October 14, 2010 – U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced that the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission is one of 45 out of 225 organizations that will receive a portion of a $100 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program.  The Commission will receive $625,000 from HUD to fund a three-year comprehensive economic, environmental, and housing plan for the region.

The planning process will be led by the Roanoke Area Sustainability Consortium made up of representatives from the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, Council of Community Services, Roanoke Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the cities of Roanoke and Salem; the counties of Roanoke, Craig, and Franklin; and Virginia Western Community College.  The consortium is supported by a broad stakeholder group of nonprofits, private businesses, energy utilities and others, representing public health, environmental awareness, education, the arts, workforce development, green building, and more.

As proposed, the plan will begin with a broad analysis of local and regional plans, including municipal comprehensive plans, neighborhood plans, energy and water plans, and others to see where gaps exist between and within plans.  A robust public input effort led by the stakeholder group will following, with a final result of both a comprehensive regional sustainability plan, as well as a sustainable planning framework for future efforts.  Copies of the grant application may be requested from the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission.

This grant is part of the Obama Administration’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which brings HUD, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency together to ensure that the agencies’ policies, programs, and funding consider affordable housing, transportation, and environmental protection together. This interagency collaboration gets better results for communities and uses taxpayer money more efficiently.  At a time when every dollar the federal government invests in jumpstarting the economy is critical, the President’s plan ensures that all these agencies are coordinating efforts and targeting resources with precision. Reflecting this new collaboration, these grants were judged by a multidisciplinary review team, drawn from eight federal agencies and from partners in philanthropy.

A summary of the grant proposal can be downloaded here.