A bill that seeks $350 million for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative has been introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

"If we are going to truly transform our most distressed neighborhoods, we must take a comprehensive approach which recognizes the need to connect affordable housing with good schools, good jobs, and good transportation," Menendez said in a statement. "That's exactly what this initiative does by providing the tools our local communities need to leverage private investment, build on their strengths, and revitalize their neighborhoods."

First funded by Congress in 2010, the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Choice Neighborhoods expands on the old HOPE VI public housing program by taking a more comprehensive approach to neighborhood revitalization, including improving schools, transportation, and job opportunities.

S. 437 seeks to triple the amount of funding to $350 million in fiscal 2013 and "such sums as may be necessary in each of fiscal years 2014 through 2017." Authorizing the program for five years gives grant applicants stability, according to Menendez.