Syracuse NY
March 22, 2024

Reconnecting Communities: NHT is Proud to Help Improve Access and Affordable Housing Options for Residents with USDOT's Support

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $3.3 billion in grant awards through the Reconnecting Communities & Neighborhoods (RCN) Grant Program. Aimed at repairing the harm caused by infrastructure choices of the past, the Reconnecting Communities program is closely aligned to HUD’s Thriving Communities Technical Assistance (TCTA) program, which helps local governments ensure housing needs are considered as part of larger infrastructure plans to support equitable development in disadvantaged communities. As a HUD technical assistance provider through the TCTA program, NHT is pleased to share the news that two of the communities we are supporting are among the awardees for a total of nearly $200 million dollars for implementation! 

  • In Syracuse, NY, NHT’s Laura Abernathy is part of a team building capacity and increasing coordination as the city undergoes a complete transformation to both its transportation infrastructure and housing options for low-income families and individuals. In 2023, construction began to remove the Interstate 81 viaduct, which divided a once-thriving primarily Black community in the 15th Ward when it was constructed, displacing more than 1,200 families and 400 businesses. In 2025, the Syracuse Housing Authority will begin construction on a new housing development in the vicinity, including redevelopment of public housing, as part of the New 15th Ward project. Along with our partners at Abt Global and Equitable Cities, NHT is helping city staff develop strategies to coordinate timelines across the two major projects and strengthen community engagement to rebuild trust among residents. A key goal (shared by HUD and NHT) is to ensure that decisions about the housing and development projects are centered on residents’ needs. The recent $180 million Reconnecting Communities award lays the groundwork for a vibrant neighborhood that will rise along I-81’s old route, supporting the biggest transformation of an area in Syracuse’s modern history. 
  • In Rockford, IL, NHT’s Laura Abernathy and Samaa Eldadah are supporting efforts to create a shared vision for an actionable housing plan as the city deploys transportation investments. The city is using a RAISE grant from USDOT for the Rockford Complete Streets Revitalization project, which will connect areas east and west of downtown with bicycle and pedestrian improvements. Rockford is reconfiguring the Whitman Street Interchange, which displaced residents, demolished 109 homes, and disrupted connectivity when it was originally built. Together, these projects present an opportunity to address housing needs between the Whitman Street Interchange and downtown and give residents on the west side of Rock River more access to transportation options. In partnership with Abt Global, Equitable Cities, and Alabama A&M University, NHT is supporting city staff to convene and engage stakeholders, including residents, elected officials, government agencies, nonprofits, and private sector entities to inform an actionable housing plan grounded in community support. The $7.1 million Reconnecting Communities grant to Rockford will fund the reconfiguration of the Whitman Street Interchange that is at the literal and figurative center of HUD’s TCTA engagement, reconnecting neighborhoods that have been isolated for decades . 

Congratulations to Syracuse and Rockford on these impressive awards. We at NHT look forward to our continued partnership to ensure both communities make full use of this transformative investment to reconnect neighborhoods and improve housing so that they enhance safety, access and opportunity for their residents.  

Danielle Arigoni
Danielle Arigoni

Managing Director for Policy and Solutions