Choices? We all have them right? Or do we? Do we choose the circumstances we’re born into? As children, do we choose our neighborhoods?
It’s an interesting concept…and also an interesting selection of language for a new place-based federal funding initiative – Choice Neighborhoods. A $250 million HUD initiative intended “to transform neighborhoods of extreme poverty into functioning, sustainable mixed-income neighborhoods with well-functioning services, schools, public assets, transportation, and access to jobs,” Choice Neighborhoods represents a major commitment to redeveloping the infrastructure of communities on behalf of the Federal Government. And it is a much-needed commitment, with 17% of children in poverty lacking health insurance (as of 2008), 66% of those in low-income housing living in homes that cost more than 30% of income, and nearly 80% of those living in impoverished communities testing below proficient on their 4th grade reading exam—according to Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT 2010, the most recent report published as part of their work to improve public policy outcomes for children. read more