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HUD and NEA Call on South Florida Businesses to Join Campaign for More Livable Communities

MIAMI -- If South Florida is going to remain a magnet for job growth, economic development and business opportunities, the region must include decent housing, quality schools, good transportation and a continued commitment to the arts sector. That was the message delivered to a group of business leaders today by U.S. Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Ron Sims and Rocco Landesman, Chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Housing and Urban Development logoIn a roundtable discussion on the campus of the New World Symphony in Miami, Sims and Landesman argued for a more holistic approach to community and economic development, one that includes a robust emphasis on linking arts and economic development.  Sponsored by Southeast Florida Regional Partnership and the South Florida Cultural Consortium, the event was designed to demonstrate that working together, local government, the business sector and the arts industry, in partnership with the federal government, can be a powerful engine for job growth.

"President Obama is challenging us to 'win the future' by finding new approaches to old problems," said Sims. "South Florida is painting a new picture for itself, one that recognizes that the arts can not only enrich the soul, but can be good for business and economic growth as well."

Landesman added, "South Florida is a perfect case study in creative placemaking. They are taking stock of their creative assets and will use them to help enhance the region's social, physical, and economic character. South Florida will continue to be a vibrant community where people want to live, work, and play."

Last fall, HUD awarded $4.25 million to the South Florida Regional Planning Council of Hollywood. The funding will support new regional plans to create more sustainable communities throughout the South Florida Region. HUD's funding is part of nearly $100 million awarded nationwide through the department's new Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program to support more livable and sustainable communities across the country. These grants are intended to build economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, quality schools, a thriving creative sector, and transportation. This is one of two new HUD grant programs that directly encourage arts organizations to join these coalition-based regional planning efforts. The other is a joint HUD and DOT Sustainable Communities Challenge Grant Program.

HUD's funding will support the South Florida Regional Planning Council as it develops plans designed to yield a more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable region.  The Southeast Florida Regional Partnership already has 194 member and supporting organizations and can leverage $136 million in Federal, state, and local funds to create a region that is economically competitive and prosperous, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable.

Core partners include more than 125 agencies and entities, including 1000 Friends of Florida, Collins Center, Enterprise development Corporation of South Florida, Florida Public Health Institute, Hispanic Unity of Florida, Inc., Trust for Public Lands, University of Miami, Urban Land Institute, Miami Dade College and the Cities of Delray Beach, Fellesmere, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Key West, Lake Worth, Lauderdale Lakes, Margate, Miami, Miami Beach, Oakland Park, Pompano Beach, Port St. Lucie, Sebastian, Sunrise, West Palm Beach, and Weston. Another partner is the South Florida Cultural Consortium.

These grants are 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. Coordinating federal investments in infrastructure, facilities, and services meets multiple economic, environmental, and community objectives with each dollar spent.

The Partnership is helping communities across the country to create more housing choices, make transportation more efficient and reliable, reinforce existing investments, and support vibrant and healthy neighborhoods that attract businesses. 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.

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HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and  transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov

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The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.

Contact

NEA Public Affairs
202-682-5570