Federal Programs in Service to Local Communities
This section outlines the types of federal assistance an interagency federal team can pursue in partnership with a local community, and the specific programs that interagency federal teams have most commonly leveraged in recent years to help communities address challenges and priorities. Three types of federal assistance are outlined here: 1) financial assistance, 2) training and technical assistance, and 3) program, partnership, and resource development. This last category covers a range of planning, implementation, engagement, and evaluation activities that a federal team can provide to local communities, as well as a listing of recent digital tools and data and innovation initiatives developed at the federal level intended for use by local communities.
Within these three categories of assistance, there are numerous programs and services that a federal team might consider exploring, depending on the specific needs and circumstances in a local community. This section helps to narrow these options by identifying a list of top programs and resources federal teams have used most effectively in serving local communities, including a list of resources that a local community is eligible to access in response to a federal disaster or other crisis situation.
This list is not intended to be a comprehensive guide of all available federal resources, but instead to provide key places to begin as applicable resources will depend on the needs of the local community.
Federally-led Data, Innovation, and Digital Collaboration Tools and Initiatives
Another type of assistance federal teams can bring to local communities is the growing number of federally-led data, innovation, and digital collaboration tools and initiatives. Below is a listing of some of these efforts federal teams have recently leveraged.
Police Data Initiative: Launched in May 2015, this initiative enables law enforcement agencies to better use data and technology to increase transparency and accountability, and ultimately improve policing outcomes and reduce unnecessary uses of force in order to build trust with citizens. Over 50 law-enforcement agencies from across the country, representing more than 40 million people, have joined. For more information visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/05/18/fact-sheet-creating-opportunity-all-through-stronger-safer-communities
Data Driven Justice: To break the cycle of incarceration, the federal government launched the Data-Driven Justice (DDJ) Initiative in June 2016 with a coalition of 67 city, county, and state governments committed to using data-driven strategies to divert low-level offenders with mental illness out of the criminal justice system and change approaches to pre-trial incarceration, so that low-risk offenders no longer stay in jail simply because they cannot afford a bond. These innovative strategies, which have measurably reduced jail populations in several communities, help stabilize individuals and families, better serve communities, and often save money in the process. For more information visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/DataDrivenJustice
The Opportunity Project: In March 2016, the federal government launched the Opportunity Project to provide easy access to new packages of federal and local data that determine access to opportunity at the neighborhood level, such as proximity to transit, housing, and quality schools. A dozen private sector and nonprofit tools have already been built and released using this data. The web site Opportunity.Census.gov serves as a platform to access the Opportunity Project data and the tools built from that data, to build new tools, and to connect with others in a community of practice. For more information: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/03/07/fact-sheet-white-house-launches-opportunity-project-utilizing-open-data
TechHire: The federal government launched the TechHire Initiative in March 2015 to help more people from all backgrounds move into the over 600,000 open tech jobs that pay 50 percent more than the average private-sector job. A little over a year after launch, more than 600 employers, in 50 cities, states, and rural areas were working with new training programs such as coding boot camps, resulting in thousands of new hires. For more information: https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/technology/techhire
Smart Cities: Through the Smart Cities initiative, launched in September 2015, localities are leveraging a new generation of sensors and data to transform city services. More than 60 new “smart city” projects are underway, including projects in Columbus, OH funded by $50 million from the Department of Transportation’s Smart Cities Challenge. These projects are addressing community challenges by, for example, decreasing congestion with smarter traffic management and monitoring air quality with unprecedented accuracy. For more information visit on the Smart Cities initiative visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/09/16/launching-smart-cities-initiative-tackle-city-challenges-innovative-approaches and https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/06/23/building-all-hands-deck-smart-cities-effort