On July 14, 2009, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan delivered a speech in which he laid out for the first time "the Obama Administration's vision for neighborhood transformation for the 21st century." The centerpiece of Secretary Donovan's remarks, and of the new Administration's approach to urban poverty, is the Choice Neighborhoods initiative, a $250 million grant program to stimulate the revitalization of poor, inner-city areas. Under Choice Neighborhoods, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will extend grants to public, private, and nonprofit organizations to provide public housing and other community services (e.g., after-school programs, childcare, and job counseling) to residents of urban communities. The philosophy behind Choice Neighborhoods, in the words of Secretary Donovan, is that not only is housing in ghetto areas substandard, "the communities themselves [are] substandard."

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