Gov't Program Aims to Revive 6 Struggling Cities

July 12, 2011

The Obama administration and the U.S. Housing and Urban Development announced a pilot program on Monday that sets out to help trigger economic growth and recovery in some of the nation’s hardest hit cities. The program will partner federal officials with local decision-makers in six cities to seek ways to revive the cities and its urban centers.

The cities targeted for the pilot program are Detroit; Chester, Pa.; Fresno, Calif; Memphis, Tenn.; Cleveland; and New Orleans.

“Community Solutions Teams” will be created that include employees from several different federal agencies — such as HUD, the Small Business Administration, and the Labor, Transportation, and Commerce Departments--who will partner with local officials to address the top economic concerns mayors in these cities have identified, announced HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan at a press conference Monday. The federal officials will provide expertise in helping local officials obtain federal funds and leverage local and regional resources.

“Too often, the federal government has been part of the problem, rather than part of the solution,” Donovan said.

The pilot cities were selected on the basis of economic need, potential for economic growth, and geographic diversity, Donovan said.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said his city will benefit from the support and collaborations from several federal departments. “They believe in us,” Bing said. “We gotta start believing in ourselves.” Detroit has been one of the hardest hit economies since the housing crisis.

Source: “HUD Secretary Unveils Plan to Foster Growth by Pairing Federal, Local Officials in 6 Cities,”The Associated Press (July 11, 2011)