Strong Cities, Strong Communities federal initiative to better use resources launches in Flint

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FLINT, Michigan — Federal government representatives launched the Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative Friday morning in Flint in an effort to make improvements throughout the city.

In January, Flint was chosen to be a part of the program, which was launched by the Obama administration in 2011. The initiative calls upon experts from federal agencies to address problems within distressed cities. They work alongside city leadership, community organizations, local business and philanthropic foundations to support the cities' visions for economic growth and development. A key goal is to help officials make better use of existing resources.

An important factor in Flint's selection was the new Imagine Flint Master Plan, which laid out a clear plan for the city's recovery, according to Shaun Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Flint Strong Cities, Strong Communities team will focus on helping neighborhoods become more stable, improving public safety and strengthening economic development. Two of the most important areas in which the team will seek to improve are crime and blight.

Detroit was one of the cities initially chosen for the initiative, where it helped forward a light rail project and demolish blight.

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