The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is pleased to announce initial recipients of technical assistance offered through its Thriving Communities Technical Assistance (TCTA) program: Syracuse, NY; Rockford, IL; Redmond, WA; and Sun Prairie, WI. TCTA is designed to help local governments ensure housing needs are addressed as part of their infrastructure investment plans while supporting equitable development in disadvantaged communities.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) provided historic resources to build and maintain infrastructure in communities across the country. HUD’s TCTA program helps local governments address pressing housing needs by identifying land for housing development near transportation projects; developing preservation and anti-displacement strategies; identifying and implementing reforms to reduce barriers to location-efficient housing; and improving coordination and supporting a holistic approach to housing and transportation.
“The Biden-Harris Administration made historic investments in rebuilding and improving America’s infrastructure,” said Solomon Greene, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research. “These funds will ensure that housing is considered and addressed alongside those investments. The nation faces a growing shortage of affordable housing, and this program is designed to help communities leverage infrastructure investments to help fill that gap.”
HUD is offering this technical assistance as part of the Thriving Communities Network, an interagency initiative between HUD and the Departments of Transportation, Energy, Commerce, and Agriculture, as well as the General Services Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Each local government selected for Thriving Communities TA (TCTA) is coordinating housing strategies with transportation projects that utilize competitive federal U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) funds. Projects focus on community engagement, coordination among agencies and funding sources, preservation of affordable housing and avoiding displacement, and using vacant or otherwise available land for affordable housing. Summaries of each TCTA project are below.
Local governments that want to learn more about TCTA or submit a request for assistance should visit the TCTA website for more information. Requests are being reviewed on a rolling basis.
Syracuse, NY – Rebuilding trust through resident-centered neighborhood transformation
The City of Syracuse is receiving TCTA to strengthen community engagement as a foundation for neighborhood transformation. In 2023, construction began on the Interstate 81 viaduct removal project, supported by a USDOT Reconnecting Communities planning grant. The original I-81 construction divided a once-thriving primarily Black community in the 15th Ward, displacing more than 1,200 families and 400 businesses. Next year, the Syracuse Housing Authority will begin construction on a new housing development, including redevelopment of public housing, as part of the New 15th Ward project.
TCTA will help city staff develop strategies for coordinating timelines across the housing and transportation projects and strengthen community engagement to rebuild trust among residents. A key goal is to ensure residents’ needs are central to decisions about the housing and transportation projects that will transform their neighborhood.
Rockford, IL – Creating a shared vision for housing alongside transportation investments
The City of Rockford is receiving TCTA to create a shared vision for an actionable housing plan as it deploys transportation investments. The City is using a USDOT Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant for the Rockford Complete Streets Revitalization project, which will connect the east and west of downtown Rockford and bring bicycle and pedestrian improvements. Rockford is reconfiguring the Whitman Street Interchange, which displaced residents, demolished 109 homes, and disrupted connectivity when it was built. These two projects present an opportunity to address housing needs between the Whitman Street Interchange and the Downtown area, along with giving residents on the west side of Rock River greater access to downtown when the circulator bus is operational.
TCTA will provide city staff with strategies for convening stakeholders, including residents, elected officials, government agencies, nonprofits, and private sector entities, to gather input on the City’s housing needs, with a goal of creating an actionable housing plan that has community support.
Redmond, WA – Preserving affordability in a high-cost region
The City of Redmond is receiving TCTA to identify strategies to preserve affordable housing and prevent displacement. The City faces significant housing pressures related to the economic growth in the Puget Sound region, which may be exacerbated by an extension of two light rail projects. With recent funding from USDOT, the City will gain four light rail stations that will improve affordable transit, as well as a shared use path that will improve pedestrian and bicycle access. These transportation improvements will add to the challenges of meeting housing demand, particularly for lower income residents.
TCTA will provide city staff with tools to mitigate displacement of residents and small businesses, respond to resident concerns, and address development needs. An important component is developing trust with the residents at risk of displacement, as well as residents concerned about the changes accompanying new transit stations.
Sun Prairie, WI – Building support for zoning reform through storytelling
The City of Sun Prairie is receiving TCTA to build support for zoning reforms to allow density increases near new transit routes. The City recently began providing local bus service and will be adding Bus Rapid Transit, funded under USDOT’s Capital Investment Grants program, in late 2024. This service will connect higher density housing with employment centers, retail areas, schools, transportation nodes, and the downtown area, and will improve access to Madison, WI. City staff will work to build community support and strong partnerships as they face the challenges of retrofitting a bus system for a developed suburban area.
TCTA will support city planning staff in developing “storytelling” skills to effectively communicate with residents about land use decisions, while hearing and responding to local concerns. The goal is to convey the rationale for increasing density and adopt a holistic housing, transportation and land use plan that advances equity and sustainability. TCTA will also help city staff identify best practices to update and align housing, transportation, and land use plans and zoning regulations.