Agencies Team Up to Improve Communities Without Wrecking the Environment

HUD Secretary Julian Casto says targeted investments will “enhance the health and wealth of communities for decades to come.” HUD Secretary Julian Casto says targeted investments will “enhance the health and wealth of communities for decades to come.” United States Department of Housing and Urban Development

Underlining the links between affordable housing, reliable transportation and a clean environment, three Cabinet officers on Thursday joined in the release of a five-year progress report on a multi-agency effort to create more sustainable communities.

The update on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities examines cooperation among the Housing and Urban Development Department, Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency to provide more housing choices, make transportation more efficient and create vibrant neighborhoods that attract development while protecting the environment, according to an EPA statement.

The joint project since 2009 has awarded $4 billion in grants to 1,000 communities, and is designed to pool agency expertise to better target the grant money. But it is being updated to reflect President Obama’s executive initiative to address climate change. “We are at a point where it no longer makes sense to make these types of investments in infrastructure and communities without considering how they will affect and be affected by climate change,” the report said.

“The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is about achieving one goal: expanding opportunity for American families,” HUD Secretary Julián Castro said. “These targeted investments are bringing more affordable housing and transportation options, and more economic resilience to regions that were hard hit by the economic crisis. In partnership with local leaders, I am convinced that the investments our agencies have made will enhance the health and wealth of communities for decades to come.”

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy added, “Communities know better than anyone else what they need… We at the federal level are organizing ourselves to give communities tools to address economic and environmental challenges in the way that works best for them.”

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