The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved the Choice Neighborhoods Final Transformation Plan for the Allenton Heights target area on September 12, 2013. The Director of Choice Neighborhoods for the Office of Public Housing Investments stated that this is an exciting time for communities across the country, as the Administration has made it clear that place-based strategies are critical to successful neighborhood revitalization. The Jackson Housing Authority (JHA) and the Jackson Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) continues to work on plans to achieve the three core goals of this Initiative that involves housing, people, and the neighborhood.


The Transformation Plan is a preliminary vision on how we propose to revitalize the public housing development and other housing in the area, and improve outcomes for the people. This will be achieved by linking housing improvements with appropriate services, schools, public assets, transportation, and access to jobs. A strong emphasis will be placed on access to high quality education for all ages with a special focus on early childhood educational opportunities.


Jackson Housing Authority (JHA) and the Jackson Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) received a Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant in the amount of $167,000 for the Allenton Heights target neighborhood and public housing development. The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is working with each grantee to develop metrics appropriate to measure performance. The spatial concentration of poverty remains a serious and often unrecognized challenge to the ability of poor families and children to access opportunities and move up the economic ladder. Many neighborhoods of concentrated poverty contain distressed public housing in need of repair or replacement. Choice Neighborhoods will employ a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. The program will transform neighborhoods by revitalizing severely distressed public housing, and investing and leveraging investments in well-functioning services, high quality public schools and education programs, high quality early learning programs and services, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs. HUD is focusing on directing resources into three core goals: Housing, People, and Neighborhoods.

Looney Ricks Kiss served as the Planning Coordinator responsible for creating a Transformation Plan for the Allenton Heights Redevelopment District. The public housing development is a dense 100-unit townhouse development that was built in 1942, and suffers numerous problems such as inadequate electrical service, insufficient heating and cooling systems, lack of insulation, broken sidewalks, and significant site erosion. More than 41% of the residents in the target neighborhood are living in poverty, and the crime rate is twice over the city as a whole. The Transformation Planning process brought together a diverse set of players including the police department, the board of education, a healthcare provider, and others to assess the neighborhood’s current strengths and weaknesses and developed a plan for improving resident education, employment, health, mobility and safety outcomes. Planning activities included community needs assessment design workshops, development of replacement housing and surveys designed to improve the health of residents.

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Jackson Police Department
Healthy Community LLC
JHA Community Development
Jackson Madison County Board of Education
Jackson Madison County Schools
Looney Ricks Kiss (Planning Coordinator)
Tennessee Housing Development Corporation
West Tennessee Healthcare