Yesterday President Obama announced the “American Jobs Act” proposal, which includes “Project Rebuild”, a $15 billion initiative to connect unemployed Americans with work needed to rehabilitate homes, businesses and communities.  The proposal is modeled after the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP).

Project Rebuild includes the following components:

Focus on Distressed Commercial Properties and Redevelopment to Stabilize Communities: Many regions with concentrated home foreclosures also have concentrations of vacant commercial structures that weigh on property values and make it less likely that new businesses will come into the community and invest new capital.  Project Rebuild will tackle this problem directly by allowing grantees to rebuild and repurpose distressed commercial real estate.

Include For-Profit Entities to Gain Expertise, Leverage Federal Dollars and Speed Program Implementation: Many successful redevelopment strategies involve unique collaborations between local governments, non-profit organizations and developers and other private actors.  Project Rebuild will seek to empower and expand these types of collaborations by allowing federal funding to support for-profit development when consistent with project aims and subject to strict oversight requirements to ensure that the funds are being used as intended.

Increase Support for “Land Banking”: Land banks work with communities to buy, hold and redevelop distressed properties as part of a long-term redevelopment strategy and have shown impressive results in stemming property price declines and stabilizing communities across the country.  Project Rebuild will seek to scale successful land bank models, providing much needed infusions of capital that they can leverage to raise private sector investment.  This will increase the breadth and depth of their reach in helping communities better handle their distressed properties.

Create Jobs Maintaining Properties and Avoiding Community Blight: Project Rebuild will enable grantees to use funds to establish property maintenance programs to create jobs and mitigate “visible scars” left by vacant/abandoned properties.

Click here for the American Jobs Act Fact Sheet.

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