Request Assistance from the Network


PLEASE NOTE: The National Resource Network has limited the review of any new requests for assistance effective January 31, 2016. Until further notice, the review of any new applications will be limited to local governments that are able to provide full funding for the assessment and direct assistance process. Other applications will not be considered at this time.


Begin the Request for Assistance Process Now

   (Please fill out all three pages of the application: Background Information, Economic Challenges, and Project Management)

The National Resource Network (the Network) is a core component of the Obama Administration’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) initiative, and develops and delivers innovative solutions to American cities to help them address their toughest economic challenges. The Network works with local leaders to identify practical solutions, share real-world expertise and best practices, and develop the tools and strategies they need to grow their economies. The Network leverages the expertise, partnerships, and resources of the public and private sectors to help cities comprehensively tackle their most pressing challenges. The Network provides cities with customized tools and advice to build strategic partnerships, strengthen their economic competitiveness, and marshal public and private sector resources.

As one of its services to communities, the Network is announcing a direct technical assistance program. Our goal is to help local governments and their partners in economically challenged communities develop and implement strategies for economic recovery.  These strategies could focus on capacity issues related to local government operations or budgets, economic development, land use, transportation, workforce development, community development, housing, and public safety, among others.  In many cases, individual cities will have cross-cutting strategies that touch on multiple areas of focus.

Through direct technical assistance, the Network and the city government will work together to identify a plan that will have the greatest likely impact in advancing economic recovery.  Direct assistance will be provided by a combination of the members of the Network’s consortium, the Network’s Strategic Partners, and firms or organizations that have been approved for work with the Network.  The direct technical assistance program provides eligible cities with assessments and strategies that are tailored to address their specific needs.

The services offered by the Network under the direct technical assistance program are best suited for cities that have populations of 40,000 or more, and one or more of the following challenges:

  • a 2013 annual average unemployment rate of 9 percent or more, as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics;

  • a poverty rate of 20 percent or more (excluding students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate or professional school),  as measured by the 2010-2012 American Community Survey;

  • a population decline of 5 percent or more between 2000 and 2010, as measured by the U.S. Decennial Census. 

For assistance in determining whether your city meets one or more of these criteria, please click reference the Request for Assistance FAQ.

Cities with populations of 40,000 or more that do not meet these criteria may be candidates for assistance under the direct technical assistance program if they have one or more of the following challenges: a limitation in core local government capacity as evidenced by a bond rating downgrade or change in outlook; failure to balance local government budget for two or more years in a row since 2008; and/or a reduction of 10 percent or more of local government workforce in the last three years.

The National Resource Network is especially interested in providing direct assistance through regional engagements where multiple cities in the same geographic region seek to work together to address a common set of problems. This type of joint request is strongly encouraged; only one city in a joint request must meet the criteria outlined above.

Cities receiving direct technical assistance should note that they will be requested to provide additional funding or resources to support their technical assistance. To inquire about how the Network may assist your city under the direct technical assistance, please complete this short application. The Network may contact the city for additional information to better understand its challenges and priorities based on its request for direct assistance.

Begin the Request for Assistance Process Now

FAQs about the Request for Assistance Process