HUD launched the Choice Neighborhoods program in 2010 to help local leaders transform struggling neighborhoods of concentrated poverty into sustainable, mixed-income communities with quality, affordable housing, safer streets, good schools and improved access to jobs. The program allows for planning the revitalization of severely distressed public housing, ensuring that current public housing residents will be able to benefit by either preserving affordable housing or providing residents with the choice to move to affordable and accessible housing in another existing neighborhood.
In 2013, HUD selected the City of New Bern and the Housing Authority of the City of New Bern as one of only nine cities in the country to receive a 2013 HUD Choice Neighborhoods Initiative planning grant. The $400,000 grant will be used to plan the revitalization of the Five Points commercial area and the surrounding residential neighborhoods of the greater Duffyfield community, the Walt Bellamy community, and two public housing developments, Trent Court and Craven Terrace — together called the Greater Five Points area.
The Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant will bring together New Bern’s residents, service organizations, businesses and non-profits to develop a comprehensive approach to transform the grant area and improve the lives of its residents. The CN program is focused on three core goals: Housing, People and Neighborhood. It not only addresses the public housing issue, but education, public safety, health and employment.