U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today toured a middle school and affordable housing complex in San Francisco’s Mission District that are part of a federal neighborhood improvement initiative.

Donovan joined Mayor Ed Lee and other San Francisco officials today at Everett Middle School and the Valencia Garden Apartments, both of which are components of the Mission Neighborhood Promise Neighborhood initiative, a five-year, $30 million program funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

The program, which organizes public-private partnerships to support children and their families, is bearing fruit in the Mission District, according to Donovan, who called San Francisco’s branch of the initiative “a model for the rest of the country.”

He said Everett Middle School is seeing marked improvement in test scores with help from federal funding while the new 260-unit Valencia Gardens complex will allow low-income families to stay in a neighborhood where housing prices are increasing.

Lee said with the program, San Francisco is “creating ladders of opportunity for our distressed communities.”

More information about the local initiative can be found online at www.missionpromise.org.

Following this afternoon’s tour of the Mission District, Donovan and the mayor also planned to attend this evening a gala celebrating Bridge Housing, a nonprofit providing local affordable housing.

Actor Edward Norton was among the other expected attendees at the gala, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Pier 27 in San Francisco.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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