The European Commission has decided to extend the URBAN Community initiative during the period 1996 to 1999. URBAN provides assistance, in the form of loans, grants and technical assistance, to areas in cities with high unemployment, decayed urban fabric, bad housing conditions and a lack of social amenities. Measures which may be supported are drawn up by a local partnership, involving government at all levels as well as local companies and organizations. URBAN supports measures such as: - Launching new economic activities; - Ensuring employment for local people; - Improving social, health and security provisions; - Improving infrastructure and environmental conditions; - Special workshops to give incentives, skills and opportunities to residents for refurbishing, maintaining and improving the security of housing estates; - Support in improving the local capacity to solve problems, including exchange schemes and the creation of partnerships of the city organizations and actors concerned. The Structural Funds will contribute ECU 157 million to this extension of URBAN, of which ECU 61 million should go to Objective 1 regions. The Commission envisages supporting around 20 projects with this funding.