Metro, regional partners ally to pursue HUD grant for regional equity
Grant will allow local governments and community groups to improve affordable housing, transportation services to historically underserved populations
Metro and several regional partners are joining forces to change the way the Portland metropolitan area provides opportunities to underserved populations. A consortium of public and community based stakeholders will formally sign a Declaration of Cooperation on Monday, signaling an agreement to pursue a federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant.
Though the grant program is designed for regional governments to partner together to bridge the gap in how governments and community organizations provide services to underserved communities, the local consortium will focus on integrating land use, transportation and services – or where people live, how they get around and where they shop, work and go to school.
"Our success as a region is dependent on everyone's ability to have a roof over his or her head, a safe route to work, good health and a strong school system," said Metro Council President David Bragdon. "I look forward to working with our partners to level the playing field and give everyone opportunities and choices."
In order to receive the grant, for which applications are due Aug. 23, HUD requires the cooperation of regional governments, local housing authorities and community organizations dedicated to advocating for equity among underserved populations. Metro, the lead agency, will be joined by Washington, Multnomah, and Clackamas counties as well as the cities of Portland, Beaverton and Vancouver, TriMet, Portland State University, the Housing Authority of Portland, the Vancouver Housing Authority and the Oregon Housing and Community Services department. Non-governmental partners include the Urban League of Portland, the Fair Housing Council, Coalition for a Livable Future, Housing Organizations of Color Coalition, Community Housing Fund, Oregon Opportunity Council and Bienestar.
By meeting on Monday to sign the Declaration of Cooperation, the signatories are not only committing to the grant application, but agreeing to improve the connections between affordable housing, transportation options and education opportunities for all residents of the region. This is the broadest such coalition dedicated to the cause of greater equality in the Portland area and offers an unprecedented opportunity for the region to reconsider how it helps provide equal opportunities for all people to succeed.
Receiving the grant will allow Metro and its regional partners to increase workforce training, offer more affordable housing and provide high quality transportation so that people don't have to feel trapped by their geographic or financial situations. By allowing greater opportunities for disadvantaged populations throughout the region, Portland and the surrounding areas can begin eroding the gaps of wealth and achievement that exist today.
A signing ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. at the Urban League of Portland, 10 N Russell St., Portland, on Aug. 2.