The U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Agriculture (USDA) announced today the five inaugural U.S. communities that have been designated as Promise Zones, an intensive and layered approach to revitalizing distressed communities. 15 additional promise zones will be announced over the next three years.
The first round of promise zones will be located in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Each of the chosen communities have already put forward a plan on how they will leverage federal partnerships and resources in the most effective ways possible to improve their communities. In exchange, these designees will be able to access federal investments in order to achieve their goals.
Each Promise Zone will receive federal staff that will work side-by-side with local staff, to help communities break down regulatory barriers, use existing funds more effectively, and implement their economic visions. Where necessary to achieve their goals, Promise Zones will be able to access federal investments that further the goals of job creation, additional private investment, increased economic activity, improved access to educational opportunities and quality, affordable housing, and reduction in violent crime.
The President has also proposed cutting taxes for businesses that hire from Promise Zones.
Cities that are part of the first group of Promise Zones have proposed improving access to education including STEM education, affordable housing, and building partnerships with the local university community. Southeastern Kentucky, specifically, will be offering a $1.3 million revolving credit line within that Promise Zone for job creation and supporting small businesses. The Choctaw Nation projects will center on better education and building infrastructure on Choctaw lands which is lacking.