The Jackson Housing Commission (JHC), in partnership with the City of Jackson, was recently awarded a $450,000 HUD Choice Neighborhoods (CNI) Planning Grant for the Downtown Jackson neighborhood. Jackson was one of 8 communities nationwide that received the CNI grant in 2021. Through the Grant, JHC and the City of Jackson will work with local residents and a variety of community stakeholders to create a forward-looking CNI Plan with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. The CNI Plan will be centered on redevelopment of JHC’s Reed Manor property, which includes 292 units of low-income housing. The CNI Plan will seek to replace 100% of those housing units within the neighborhood, or in other areas of opportunity as part of new mixed-income developments. The CNI Plan will ensure that current residents will be able to benefit from this transformation by preserving affordable housing or providing residents with the choice to move in to affordable and accessible housing in another existing neighborhood of opportunity.
The Downtown Jackson Neighborhood was selected for its tremendous opportunities and strategic location as the heart of the region. Jackson’s Downtown District represents the true spirit and energy of the city of Jackson. The Downtown boasts historic structures, a rich artistic culture, award-winning dining and a thriving business community. Despite these unique assets, Downtown Jackson continues to face challenges relating to affordable housing, business development, circulation, and safety and security. This Plan will help to create a roadmap for how to address these challenges through creative and innovative approaches.
The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is focused on three core goals:
- Housing: Transform distressed public and assisted housing into energy efficient, mixed-income housing that is physically and financially viable over the long term.
- People: Support positive outcomes for families who live in the target developments and the surrounding neighborhood, particularly outcomes related to residents’ education, health and recreation, safety, employment, and mobility; and
- Neighborhood: Help to transform target neighborhoods into viable, mixed-income communities with access to well-functioning services, high quality public schools and education programs, high quality early learning programs and services, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs.
The process to create the Downtown Jackson Choice Neighborhood Plan will take about two years and would be completed in November 2023. As we envision, design, and seek to implement the investment and physical changes necessary to revitalize the community, local residents will be engaged from day one, so that they can help to assume a leadership role in the process. JHC and the City of Jackson will work with Reed Manor residents, the Jackson Housing Board of Commissioners, public and private agencies, community and philanthropic organizations, local neighbors, and other identified individuals and stakeholder groups to gather and leverage resources needed to support the strategic and financial sustainability of the Plan.
As part of the CNI Grant, the planning team will dedicate approximately $176,000 to identify and build an “Early Action Project” in the Summer of 2022 that will have an immediate positive benefit for the community. We will also be looking to identify a team of Community Ambassadors to assist with resident engagement, data gathering and Plan feedback. Ambassadors will be provided a stipend for their effort.