The planning process will be led by HACB in cooperation with the City of Brownsville. The entire process will be overseen by HUD, and coordinated by Camiros. The Choice planning team will also work with residents, non-profit organizations, and local businesses to create a Plan that reflects the visions and aspirations of the entire community.
The community are the residents of the Buena Vida neighborhood and the stakeholders within and beyond the neighborhood who invest their time, skills and money toward the continued improvement of the quality of the neighborhood, and the quality of life of its residents.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business.
The Housing Authority of the City of Brownsville (HACB) was established in 1938, and ground was broken for the Buena Vida Development on November 3, 1939. The HACB currently serves 938 families in the Public Housing Program and 2,208 families in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. HACB also offers Family Self-Sufficiency Programs for their Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher Program participants to promote self-sufficiency through education and employment. HACB is the largest Housing Authority in the Rio Grande Valley and have earned “High Performer” status from HUD for both the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher Programs.
The Board of Commissioners of HACB consists of five members and one of the members must be a resident of the Public Housing Program or Housing Choice Voucher Program. The Board Members are appointed by the Mayor of the City of Brownsville. It is the responsibility of the Board to interpret the policies that govern the HACB, which are subject to the mandates and limits set by State and Federal laws, and to chart the direction of the agency and ensure sound fiscal management.
The City of Brownsville has significant experience in neighborhood planning and plan implementation with a long history of working with HUD programs such as the Community Development Block Grant Program to improve low-income neighborhoods in the City, the Emergency Solutions Grant, and the Home Investment Partnerships Program that have helped improve the quality of life for the community.
Camiros, Ltd. is a nationally recognized planning firm based in Chicago who has worked to build sustainable communities since 1976. Camiros has served as the Planning Coordinator for the successful Ellis Heights CNI Planning Grant for the Rockford, Illinois Housing Authority, awarded in 2012 and the Rosewood CNI Planning Grant for the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, awarded in 2013. Camiros is also currently working with the Mobile, Alabama Housing Board and the City of Flint Michigan on their Choice Neighborhoods Plans. Camiros has effectively led comparable neighborhood transformation assignments in over 40 distressed urban neighborhoods in Chicago, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark, among others. They have also actively participated in the Preservation of Affordable Housing’s (POAH) and City of Chicago’s planning for the Grove Park/Woodlawn project, a recipient of a CNI Implementation Grant. Camiros staff have significant experience working successfully with residents in lower-income, primarily Latino communities such as East Austin, Houston’s Northside neighborhood and Chicago’s Little Village, Pilsen, and Humboldt Park neighborhoods.
Borderless is an urban design and research consultancy focused on collaborative and interdisciplinary projects. With emphasis on research and communication across disciplines, borderless explores comprehensive design solutions that address urban systems and urban development models by looking to intersections between architecture, urban design, infrastructure, landscape and participatory processes. Paola Aguirre is the founder of Borderless, urban design consultancy based in Chicago. Paola has been trained as an architect and urban designer, and her professional experience includes working with government, universities and architecture/urban design offices both in Mexico and the United States.