The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will award $2bn to states, local governments and non-profit housing developers under its Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, HUD will award the new grants to applicants developing innovative ideas to rebuild local communities. Using the funds, governments and non-profits can acquire land and property, demolish or rehabilitate abandoned properties. The funds can be used to offer down-payments and closing-cost assistance to low-to middle-income homebuyers. The grants can also go toward the creation of “land banks” that temporarily manage and dispose of foreclosed homes. Obama signed the Recovery Act into law in February 2009, enacting a $787bn program that provided almost $100bn in funds so far. “Vacant homes have a debilitating effect on neighborhoods and often lead to reduced property values, blight, and neighborhood decay,” said HUD secretary Shaun Donovan.  “This additional $2bn in Recovery Act funding will help stabilize hard hit communities by turning vacant homes into affordable housing opportunities. The Neighborhood Stabilization Program [NSP] is a key part of the Obama Administration’s comprehensive approach to address the national housing and economic crisis.” Last year, HUD granted nearly $4bn in NSP funds to more than 300 grantees, and in the summer of 2009 awarded $50m in technical assistance to grantees to help manage the inventory of abandoned homes purchased under the NSP. Write to Jon Prior.