Baselines to beautification: Creating a data-driven responsive proposal for FY24 NOFO Choice Neighborhood HUD Grant

The HUD Choice Neighborhood Grant program provides funding to communities to revitalize neighborhoods and requires a lot of data to apply. Learn how to use data in your grant application.

The HUD Choice Neighborhood Grant program provides funding to communities to revitalize neighborhoods. To increase the chances of success, creating a data-driven responsive proposal is essential. Thus, this blog post will explore why including data is crucial in Choice Neighborhood Grant applications and provide valuable tips on effectively utilizing data to support your proposal.

Now is the perfect time to start planning for an FY2024 Choice Neighborhood Grant. Planning, coordinating, organizing, data gathering, and writing the application for the Choice Neighborhood Planning Grant takes roughly a year. Start now to take advantage of the April – June 2024 application window. 

Why is data important in grant writing?

Data is an essential component of any grant application as it plays a crucial role in supporting the need for revitalization efforts in a community. Using data, you can demonstrate the existing challenges in a neighborhood and showcase the potential impact the grant can have on improving the quality of life. The Choice Neighborhood Grant application specifically requests applicants provide data on the following:

  • Data on the target neighborhood: Applicants must provide data on the target neighborhood, including information on housing, poverty, crime, education, and employment. This data will help HUD assess the need and evaluate the competitiveness of your proposal. 
  • Baseline conditions: The Choice Neighborhood program requires qualitative and quantitative data to measure the program’s impact over time. Applicants must provide baseline data on the target neighborhood. This baseline data should measure the program’s impact over time. Baseline conditions include a needs assessment and identification of “severely distressed” structures and neighborhood assets (developmental assets, commercial assets, recreational assets, physical assets, and social assets).

Creating a data-driven responsive proposal

There are two types of Choice Neighborhood grants: Planning Grants and Implementation Grants. An applicant may apply directly to the Implementation grant. However, most Implementation Grant awardees have previously won a Planning Grant. Why? HUD has confidence the applicant will be able to manage the project, stakeholders, and data. The Choice Neighborhood Planning Grant application requires significant data to demonstrate baseline conditions. Data ensures the program resources are used effectively by tracking the impact against a baseline.

Here are some specific examples of the types of data baselines that are required for the Choice Neighborhood Planning Grant application:

  • Needs Assessment: The applicant must provide data on indicators such as vacant land, lack of transportation, lack of retail services, dilapidated structures, and distressed infrastructure.
  • Housing: The applicant must determine which strategies will most effectively replace distressed public and assisted housing with high-quality mixed-income housing that is well-managed, financially viable, and responsive to the needs of the surrounding neighborhood. To prioritize distressed structures, baseline data on the level of distress and hazard to the community must be evaluated. 
  • Tracking Progress: Applicants must develop a plan for tracking progress on three key elements: housing, people, and neighborhood outcomes. Applicants must develop a method for strategic partners and the community to review the data regularly and adjust strategies as needed. The data is not just for data scientists and HUD officials. Demonstrating the accessibility of the data to stakeholders is critical.

Basically, the Choice Neighborhood Planning Grant application is a complex and demanding process. However, the data and baselines that are required are essential for ensuring that the program is implemented effectively and that it is having a positive impact on the target neighborhood.

Tips for Using Data in Your Choice Neighborhood Grant Application

Now let’s explore some tips to create a data-driven responsive grant proposal for the FY24 funding cycle:

  1. Identify Relevant Data Sources: Start by identifying sources that can provide valuable insights into the challenges faced by the community. This may include US Census data, crime statistics, educational performance reports, and housing data. Access to reliable and up-to-date data is crucial for an impactful application.
  2. Analyze and Interpret Data: Once you have gathered the data, analyze and interpret the findings. Identify the key metrics that highlight the most pressing issues in the community. Use graphs, charts, and visualizations to present the data in a clear and accessible manner.
  3. Connect Data to Desired Outcomes: Connect the data analysis to the needs and goals of your project. Clearly articulate how the proposed interventions will address the challenges identified through data analysis. Show how the grant funds will make a significant difference and lead to sustainable improvements.
  4. Personalize & Contextualize: While statistics are important, incorporating stories can add a personal touch to your application. Share stories of local activists leading the grassroots charge in the community. These stories can highlight the solidarity and involvement of the community in the proposal.
  5. Collaborate with Data Experts: If you are unfamiliar with data analysis or need assistance gathering and interpreting the data, consider collaborating with data experts or hiring professional consultants. Their expertise can help you present the data accurately and effectively. (Learn more about how City Detect can help. Connect with us here.)


In sum, creating a data-driven responsive proposal for your best chance of winning an FY24 Choice Neighborhood HUD Grant. Follow these tips in your Choice Neighborhood Grant application so you can significantly increase your chances of success. Remember, data provide solid evidence of the community’s needs and the potential positive impact of your proposed projects.

Good luck with your Choice Neighborhood Grant planning and application!

Katherine Zobre

Katherine Zobre has ten years of professional grant writing experience working in Economic Development. She has experience with international, federal, local, and nonprofit grants. She also works with economic development agencies to create innovative programs to support equitable growth and support to underserved communities. She has an MS in International Development Studies from The University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and BA in Political Science and Economics from the University of Maryland. Katherine has lived, worked, and volunteered in 11 countries across 5 continents.