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American Planning Association - Opportunity and Empowerment

The HUD Secretary's Opportunity & Empowerment Award honors excellence in community planning that has led to measurable benefits in terms of increased economic development, employment, education, or housing choice and mobility for low- and moderate-income residents. The award stresses tangible results and recognizes the planning discipline as an important community resource. It emphasizes how creative housing, economic development, and private investments are used in, or in tandem with, a comprehensive community development plan.

American Planning Association - Opportunity and Empowerment




New York City, New York

The Homebase program, funded by the New York City Department of Homeless Services, is a network of neighborhood-based homelessness prevention centers working to prevent homelessness, helping shelter-seeking families find immediate alternatives, shortening time spent in shelter, and preventing repeated stays in shelter.

Families at risk of homelessness are enrolled in Homebase and assigned a counselor who acts quickly to help them preserve their housing and develop a plan for housing stability. Diversion services are also available to households applying for shelter. These include mediation to allow clients to return to prior housing while Homebase works on a long-term plan, restoring clients to housing by providing rent benefits, advocacy, landlord mediation, and rapid housing relocation services. Providers of these services are community-based organizations with decades of experience in tackling poverty and homelessness.