APA Partners with HUD on Solutions for Local Prosperity

Last week Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro launched a new “Prosperity Playbook” initiative at a meeting in Kansas City.

Working with APA, HUD will convene a series of meetings around the country to identify local best practices and policy innovations designed to promote economic mobility, access to opportunity, and inclusive growth. The work will lead to a new digital toolkit for local officials and planners scheduled for release this fall.

The meeting in Kansas City was the first of five events that are designed to gather regional leaders to talk about strategies and policies for addressing challenges related to affordable housing, community development, social equity and access to access to opportunity-rich neighborhoods, education, and jobs. The work comes as HUD is beginning to work with communities on the implementation of the new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule (AFFH). In addition to Kansas City, regional meetings are scheduled for Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis, and San Francisco.

Joined by Kansas City Mayor Sly James, U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver and a host of regional elected officials and planners, Secretary Castro said that the Prosperity Playbook was part of efforts to make HUD a “department of opportunity.” He said the effort would forge a blueprint to assist local leaders in creating opportunity throughout regions and identify a set of best practices to create more affordable housing.

The goal of the work, he added, is to identify tools to both spur investment in distressed neighborhoods and ensure that all residents have access to critical resources and the chance to participate in a region’s economic growth and prosperity.

The wide ranging conversation in Kansas City touched on the lessons learned from participating in the HUD sustainable communities regional planning grant. The region’s fair housing equity assessment and regional “equity network” came out of that initiative. In addition, Kansas City is implementing a Choice Neighborhoods grant and working on a range of local policies aimed at addressing challenges from vacant properties to new transit options.

Kansas City will also be among the first area’s to comply with planning requirements under the new AFFH rule. On the same day as the HUD announcement, Mayor James unveiled a new Shared Success Initiative that provides new incentives for development in targeted distressed areas of the city. Participants also talked about an array of challenges from building codes to housing finance rules.

While Kansas City and the other host communities have many lessons to share with the rest of the country, the effort won’t be limited to their experiences.

APA will be assisting HUD in not only reviewing ideas from the convening cities but also collecting successful examples from around the country. APA members will have a direct opportunity to contribute ideas for the Prosperity Playbook.

APA, HUD and other partners will also aim to use the resources from the Prosperity Playbook in a variety of settings to help develop new planning solutions and advance ideas that lead to more just and more prosperous communities.

About the Author

Jason Jordan is APA's Director of Policy and Government Affairs.

Image: U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver with HUD Secretary Castro and Kansas City Mayor Sly James at the unveiling of the HUD Prosperity Playbook initiative for communities. Photo from Rep. Cleaver’s Twitter feed.


March 20, 2016

By Jason Jordan