About HUD's Regional Planning and Community Challenge Grants and the SCI

From 2011-2015, HUD supported regional and local planning efforts that helped communities integrate housing, transportation, infrastructure and environmental goals to realize their visions for a more prosperous future. Through this program, HUD awarded 74 Regional Planning Grants and 69 Community Challenge Planning Grants through a competitive process. These 143 grant areas ultimately reached 40 percent of the U.S. population. HUD’s $250 million investment opened the door to hundreds of millions of dollars of public and private investment and engaged more than 3,300 partner groups across the country working to strengthen American cities, counties and regions.

SCI Programs

Regional Planning Grant Program

The Regional Planning Grant Program supported locally-led collaborative efforts that brought together diverse regional interests to create a unified vision for success. Together, these consortia sought public input to determine how to best target housing, economic and workforce development, and infrastructure investments to create more jobs and regional economic activity.

Community Challenge Grant Program

The Community Challenge Grant Program fostered reform and reduced barriers to achieving affordable and economically vital communities. Community Challenge efforts included amending or replacing local master plans and updating zoning and building codes to reduce the barriers to development and promote mixed-use development, affordable housing, walkable communities, transit oriented development, and similar activities

Capacity Building for Sustainable Communities Program

The Capacity Building for Sustainable Communities Program engaged a national network of intermediary organizations with expertise across a variety of sectors to work directly with Sustainable Communities grantees and built their capacity to fulfill the goals of the SCI Program. This network facilitated the exchange of successful strategies, emerging tools, lessons learned, and public engagement strategies that maximized the effectiveness of the grantee projects.

Preferred Sustainability Status (PSS)

The Preferred Sustainability Status (PSS) program incentivizes coordinated planning and development actions within regions where measurable progress has occurred under the Sustainable Communities Initiative. The primary benefit for the region or city is the availability of bonus points on select HUD discretionary grant program applications for entities within the project geography of and certified by an eligible PSS Community. PSS Communities may also write letters of support for other government agency discretionary grant programs (primarily at EPA, DOT, USDA, and EDA) to strengthen their applications.

SCI Data and Toolsets

Sustainable Communities Initiative Data Page

The HUDUSER Sustainable Communities Initiative Data Page contains a repository of program data for research and analysis. The page contains a list of grantees, a map of grantees, grantee GIS shapefiles, planning documents, and other grantee deliverables.

Sustainable Communities Initiative Resource Library

The HUD Exchange Sustainable Communities Initiative Resource Library is a one-stop-shop for the high-quality innovative products, tools, media, and best practices that were created by SCI Grantees over the course of the Regional Planning, Community Challenge, and Capacity Building programs.

Fair Housing and Equity Assessment

The Fair Housing and Equity Assessment is a tool that SCI Regional Planning grantees used to examine barriers to fair housing choice and disparities in access to opportunity for all citizens in their region.

SCI Interagency Collaborations

Partnership for Sustainable Communities

HUD staff participated in the interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a joint effort between HUD, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other federal partners to help communities improve access to quality affordable housing, provide efficient transportation options, increase climate resilience and bolster economic competitiveness while protecting the environment. The Partnership was created in 2009 and adopted the following Livability Principles to guide federal funding programs and policies:

  1. Provide more transportation choices.
    Develop safe, reliable, and economical transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote public health.

  2. Promote equitable, affordable housing.
    Expand location- and energy-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races, and ethnicities to increase mobility and lower the combined cost of housing and transportation.

  3. Enhance economic competitiveness.
    Improve economic competitiveness through reliable and timely access to employment centers, educational opportunities, services and other basic needs by workers, as well as expanded business access to markets.

  4. Support existing communities.
    Target federal funding toward existing communities-through strategies like transit-oriented, mixed-use development and land recycling-to increase community revitalization and the efficiency of public works investments and safeguard rural landscapes.

  5. Coordinate and leverage federal policies and investment.
    Align federal policies and funding to remove barriers to collaboration, leverage funding, and increase the accountability and effectiveness of all levels of government to plan for future growth, including making smart energy choices such as locally generated renewable energy.

  6. Value communities and neighborhoods.
    Enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe, and walkable neighborhoods-rural, urban, or suburban.

Community Solutions Task Force-Community of Practice

The federal Community Solutions Task Force-Community of Practice is an interagency effort to promote collaboration across federal agencies and between the Federal Government and communities. The Community of Practice provides a forum for sharing resources, information, best practices, and evidence-based expertise from across the whole of Federal Government. Visit the Community of Practice website to find data tools, news about federal grants and technical assistance, upcoming training opportunities, and more.