On June 16, 2009, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joined together to help communities nationwide improve access to affordable housing, increase transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment.
The Partnership for Sustainable Communities (PSC) works to coordinate federal housing, transportation, water, and other infrastructure investments to make neighborhoods more prosperous, allow people to live closer to jobs, save households time and money, and reduce pollution. The partnership agencies incorporate six principles of livability into federal funding programs, policies, and future legislative proposals.
PSC 2015 Priorities
In 2015, the Partnership for Sustainable Communities will bring the skills and expertise of the member agencies to support each agency’s priority efforts, as well as offering support to USDA and FEMA. These actions focus on three key areas:
- using PSC agency resources to advance Ladders of Opportunity for every American and every community
- helping communities adapt to a changing climate, while mitigating future disaster losses
- supporting implementation of community-based development priorities
1. Advancing Economic Opportunity and Mobility
a. Support Transportation Connections
DOT’s connectivity project seeks to help Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) measure the degree to which the transportation system provides access to jobs and essential services, particularly for disadvantaged populations. The pilot is a major departure from the traditional focus on travel speed and mobility, which have helped contribute to unsustainable development patterns.
b. Expand the Conversation on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH)
As HUD finalizes and rolls out its revised rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), DOT and EPA will identify areas of alignment with their connectivity and environmental justice efforts. For more information visit: www.huduser.org/portal/affht_pt.html
c. Deliver Technical Assistance on Building Local and Regional Food Systems
The Partnership agencies will collaborate with USDA and other agencies on the new Local Foods/Local Places (LFLP) initiative. This initiative delivers technical assistance to communities of all sizes that seek help in using food systems to support broader economic and community revitalization. For more information, see: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/12/03/local-food-local-places-bringing-expertise-and-creative-thinking-community-economic-
d. Leverage Partnerships in Targeted Regional Pilot Communities
EPA has identified 51 communities from across the country to help target EPA discretionary dollars and other federal investments—particularly from HUD, DOT and USDA—to improve environmental, public health and economic outcomes by mitigating the effects of climate change, promoting green infrastructure, and encouraging equitable development. These communities are predominately low capacity and underserved communities.
2. Helping Communities Adapt to a Changing Climate
a. Incorporate Climate-Related Risks into FEMA State Hazard Mitigation Planning
As the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) updates its State Hazard Mitigation Planning Guidance in 2014, HUD, DOT, and EPA are working with NOAA to develop revised guidance that will encourage states to consider climate change risks in FEMA-required hazard mitigation plans. The Partnership agencies will draw on their experiences with sustainable communities planning and technical assistance to provide best practices to the FEMA-supported state agencies.
b. Support HUD’s National Disaster Resilience Competition
In September 2014, HUD launched its nearly $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC), making funds available on a competitive basis to communities that have been struck by recent natural disasters. The competition promotes risk assessment and planning and will fund the implementation of innovative resilience projects to better prepare communities for future storms and other extreme events. The Partnership agencies will support capacity building efforts associated with the competition. For more information on the National Disaster Resilience Competition, see: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=FactSheet_071514.pdf
c. Support the Administration’s Green Infrastructure Collaborative
EPA is joining with federal agencies, NGOs, and other private sector entities to form a broad-based network of organizations interested in promoting and implementing green infrastructure, known as the Green Infrastructure Collaborative. In 2014, the PSC agencies signed on to support this effort, committing to specific actions to help promote green infrastructure which include training, best practice dissemination, and technical assistance. For more information, on the Green Infrastructure Collaborative, see: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/gi_partners.cfm.
3. Supporting the Next Stage of Implementation of the Partnership’s Community Investments
a. Support Implementation in PSC-assisted Communities
The PSC has reached hundreds of communities since 2009 through various planning efforts, and in the coming year, will focus on helping communities implement their plans to yield tangible results. Additionally, the PSC will also help communities leverage resources at local, state and federal levels, such as through the EPA regional pilot initiative and capitalize on increased interest from the private sector.
b. Leverage the Regions to Provide Ongoing Support to Communities
Regional staff from EPA, HUD and DOT have created collaborative cross-agency structures throughout in the field. The Regional Engagement Team (RET) will continue to support these field-based efforts. The RET will update its work plan to focus on:
- Supporting regional staff in their efforts to address the above PSC priorities;
- Connecting field-based staff with relevant trainings as opportunities arise;
- Maintaining roster of key place-based staff working in field for each agency; and,
- Ensuring open communication between regional staff and appropriate headquarters staff on issues related to place-based work within and between the respective agencies.