What is the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative?
The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is a program sponsored by HUD that awards communities with public and private dollars to support the redevelopment of public housing properties and the surrounding neighborhood. Through two grant processes - The Planning Grant and The Implementation Grant - HUD awards communities ready to put in the work! The goal of the program is to award funding to comprehensive locally driven projects that focus efforts on people, housing, and the neighborhood. The people aspect aims to encourage and build bonds through partnerships with local schools, community organizations, community members, public, and private entities. The housing aspect focuses on redeveloping the public housing site and helping to maintain the existing housing stock. The neighborhood aspect looks at ways to support local businesses, educational institutions, and community organizations for sustainable redevelopment efforts.
Choice Neighborhoods - 2019 Choice Implementation Grant
In 2015 the Housing Authority in partnership with the City of Kansas City, MO, United Way of Greater Kansas City, and Brinshore Development was awarded $30 million to redevelop what is known as the Paseo Gateway area. Throughout the redevelopment process, HAKC and its partners were able to collaborate with the community to better understand the changes they wanted to see in this area in addition to the redevelopment of the public housing development (Choteau Courts). One of the largest focal points was beautifying and reclaiming spaces to rid them of unwanted uses. One of these spaces was an abandoned motel that had turned into a hub for illegal activities. The majority of the community was on board to remove the blighted property and use it for something that would add value back into the neighborhood.
This Paseo Gateway area is bounded by Independence Ave to the South and The Paseo to the Northwest, ending at N Chestnut Trfy. All redevelopment happened within these boundaries with the exception of Brookwood at Antioch, which is considered the first mixed-income housing development in the Choice Neighborhood Initiative program nationally, providing affordable housing units to low-income families in a high-income area of the city. Along with this development, HAKC helped to develop five other living communities with unique characteristics adding to the affordable housing stock of Kansas City. One of the developments has services catered to local artists, allowing them a space to live and create. Some of the developments have up to five bedrooms, allowing larger families both luxury and affordability. Funds also went towards helping current homeowners maintain their homes by assisting them with façade improvements and basic maintenance.
This grant also allowed for the provision of a park along Independence and provided financial assistance to local businesses for façade improvements.
Throughout this process HAKC worked with many partners including UMB Bank, Brinshore, and Mattie Rhodes to not only improve the neighborhood and support housing needs but also pour back into the lives of our residents. HAKC has been able to use these partnerships to provide resources and support services to our residents.