For Immediate Release - October 05, 2015

Baker-Polito Administration Opens Urban Agenda Grant Program

Grants will build leadership and help communities drive effective, local, solutions

Boston – October 5, 2015 – Today Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito opened the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development’s Urban Agenda Economic Development Grant Program for applications. The Grant Program recognizes that urban communities face significant economic and quality of life challenges, and that the path to sustainable growth lies in tapping into unique local assets, rather than one-size-fits-all directives.

“The Urban Agenda is based on a simple fact: no one universal economic development strategy can create economic growth in each of the 351 cities and towns across Massachusetts,” said Gov. Baker. “Economic development and housing growth will only happen in communities where local business, community, and municipal leaders are able to coordinate goals and methods to deliver results. Urban Agenda grants will help foster this kind of cross-sector engagement so vital to the Commonwealth.”

“Urban Agenda grants seek to build leadership, collaboration, and capacity at the local level,” said Lt. Gov. Polito. “By unlocking cooperative, community-driven responses to local economic opportunities, this grant program will help transform urban neighborhoods.”

The Urban Agenda Economic Development Grant Program provides three types of grant: economic development implementation, planning and technical assistance, and housing. Economic Development Implementation grants will advance employment and economic opportunity by supporting creative local partnerships and programs. Planning and Technical Assistance grants will bring residents and other stakeholders together to identify opportunities for shared work on quality-of-life issues, and to build coalitions and social capital within the community. Both programs will be administered by EOHED.

“Broad local leadership, and a shared vision, are vital for communities seeking sustainable economic success and community growth – there are no shortcuts,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “The Urban Agenda recognizes this need, and will help municipalities and leaders engage with their community members and business leaders to leverage the unique assets that our cities and towns offer.”

Urban Agenda Housing Program grants seek to increase the supply of multi-family housing across the Commonwealth for a range of incomes. Grants will assist communities in expanding housing opportunities, particularly those that leverage vacant or under-utilized publicly-owned land, and by supporting predevelopment and soft costs related to multi-family housing construction. The Department of Housing and Community Development will administer Urban Agenda Housing Program grants.

“These grants will drive community development by empowering residents and municipalities to use housing development to transform their neighborhoods,” said Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development Chrystal Kornegay. “Leveraging under-used land to expand housing opportunities and offer homes for families of all income levels will help drive economic development and quality-of-life improvements across Massachusetts.”

The Urban Agenda Grant Program will distribute $3 million, with award caps of $500,000 for Economic Development grants, $50,000 for Planning grants, and $200,000 for Housing grants. Applications will be open until December 11, 2015. More information may be found at the Urban Agenda Grant Program website.