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Choice Neighborhoods

Choice Neighborhoods Implementation

The Little Rock Housing Authority dba Metropolitan Housing Alliance (MHA) is proud to be one of 13 cities from across the nation that received a Choice Neighborhood Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

In FY2011 MHA received $300,000 of the more than $3.5 million that has helped communities such as Little Rock and other cities develop a plan of action to transform neighborhoods, through revitalizing severely distressed public and/or assisted housing units catalyzing critical improvements.

MHA is requesting $30 million in the 2018 funding round to implement the revitalization of the Choice Neighborhood area of Sunset Terrace. This transformation will include partnerships with City of Little Rock, Little Rock School District, Goodwill Industries of Arkansas, Gorman & Company, Itex Group, Arkansas State Fairgrounds, Children’s Hospital, UAMS Head Start and ScholarMade. The estimated leverage received from the various partners represent $125 million.

Click here to read the HUD approved Choice Neighborhood Transformation Plan submission.

What is Choice Neighborhood?

Choice Neighborhood is a HUD funded program focused on three core community goals:

  1. Housing: Replace distressed public and assisted housing with high-quality mixed-income housing that is well-managed and responsive to the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods;
  2. People: Improve outcomes of households living in the target housing related to employment and income, health, and children’s education; and
  3. Neighborhood: Create the conditions necessary for public and private reinvestment in distressed Neighborhoods to offer the kinds of amenities and assets, including safety, good schools, and commercial activities, that are important to families’ choices about their community.

The Little Rock Choice Neighborhood area to benefit under this grant covers a three-square mile area southeast of Downtown Little Rock including MHA housing sites Sunset Terrace, Madison I & II, newly proposed Madison Heights IV and additional scattered sites. The Sunset neighborhood is challenged with physical distress, high crime rates and high poverty rates. In addition, this neighborhood has been declared a food and medical desert. The focus of the program is to create synergistic strategies to reverse these debilitating trends.

The Housing Plan will modernize 74 severely distressed public housing units at Sunset Terrace; rehab 241 units at Madison Heights I & II, rehab 13 units at Central and Stephens and construct 42 of multi-family housing at Madison VI, as well as 18 scattered multi-family units in Choice Neighborhood.

How will this positively impact the residents?

In addition to improving access to upgraded affordable housing units, implementation of the plan also increases access to better nutrition, daycare, education, job skills and workforce services in a safe and convenient manner.

At MHA, we know that improving communities is a collaborative effort and have partnered with the following organizations in the revitalization of the Little Rock Choice Neighborhood:

ScholarMade Achievement Place
ScholarMade Achievement Place is a public charter school servicing grades K-9 with a specialty in integrated technologies. As our Choice Neighborhood partner, ScholarMade will use Little Rock School District baseline data and information along with interactive goal setting and parent/teacher mentoring, to develop a plan to increase student scores within the Choice Neighborhood boundaries.

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Head Start
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Head Start is a federally funded scholarship program that provides comprehensive, quality early childhood education and support services for families experiencing economic hardships. This partnership will provide early childhood prevention programs and mental health and wellness services for residents in the Choice Neighborhood community.

Academy at Goodwill (Goodwill Industries of Arkansas)
Academy at Goodwill (Goodwill Industries of Arkansas) helps adult learners receive the training to secure new employment and advance their career. As our partner, the Academy will offer hands-on job training and life skills lessons that will prepare residents for long-term careers.

City of Little Rock – Development of Community Programs
The City of Little Rock’s mission is to ensure our city is a safe, secure and prosperous place for all to live, work and play. This partnership will provide training, mentorships and internships to engage teens as they develop a business platform using their personalized skill sets.

State Fairgrounds- Arkansas Livestock Association
Arkansas Livestock Association host the 4-H Club which is a youth development program that teaches science-based life skills. This partnership will aid in increasing family interactions and will offer new support services by providing an option to plant, grow, and sell healthy food options using land provided by Arkansas Livestock.

What other improvements are being proposed?

  • New Retail Space at Arkansas Fairgrounds
  • UAMS Head Start Expansion
  • Performing Art Center Renovation
  • Business Improvement Loans
  • Community Gardens
  • Internet Technology Updates

Download the History of Sunset Terrace
Download the Plan for Madison Heights Site Plan
Download the Plan for Madison Heights Floor Plan
Download the Plan for Sunset Terrace Site Plan
Download the Plan for Sunset Terrace Floor Plan
Download a map of partners in Choice Neighborhood

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