Friday, November 1, 2013

Administration Releases Promise Zones Application

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released the application for the federal Promise Zones designation. Initially proposed during President Obama's 2013 State of the Union Address, Promise Zones is intended to build upon the Administration's place-based strategies for strengthening some of our nation's highest poverty and most challenged communities. Specifically, Promise Zones is focused on supporting the creation of jobs, increasing economic activity, improving educational opportunities, reducing violent crime, and leveraging private investment in a defined geographic area of high need. The Administration anticipates designating 20 Promise Zones by the end of 2016, with as many as five designations being made this year.

Designation as a Promise Zone provides a community with access to federal technical assistance and support in taking advantage of existing federal programs, a competitive preference in competitions for signature Administration initiatives, including Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, and the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program, and, pending action from Congress, tax credits to attract local investment and spur job creation. The Promise Zones initiative is a partnership of federal agencies that also includes the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Justice.  (For a quick overview of the Promise Zones initiative, check out CSSP's brief, which we released this summer.)

During this first competition, applications are restricted to communities that have been previously selected to participate in one (or more) of a related set of programs. Eligible applicants include: 
  • Urban areas with an active Choice Neighborhoods implementation grant, Promise Neighborhoods implementation grant, or Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation implementation or enhancement grant;
  • Rural areas with an active Promise Neighborhoods implementation grant or Stronger Economies Together grant;
  • Tribal areas with an active Promise Neighborhoods implementation grant, Stronger Economies Together grant, or Rural Jobs Accelerator grant.
The proposed Promise Zone must include the boundaries of the qualifying program (i.e. those listed above) and the grantees/partners of those programs are expected to be applicants or key partners in the Promise Zone application. Communities that are eligible to apply were notified by federal agencies in July 2013. 

The deadline to apply for the Promise Zones designation is Tuesday, November 26, 2013.

The participating federal agencies are offering a set of webinars to support applicants, which begin today. The webinars are divided into two series, one intended for "Urban" applicants and one focused on "Rural and Tribal" applicants. The schedule for each series is as follows:

Urban
  • Friday, November 1st @ 2:00-3:00 p.m. EST
    Topic: Webinar to discuss application materials
  • Friday, November 8th @ 2:00-3:00 p.m. EST
    Topic: Webinar to discuss application materials, specifically the mapping tool

  • Friday, November 15th @ 2:00-2:30 p.m. EST
    Topic: Conference call to address any applicant questions

  • Friday, November 22th @ 2:00-2:30 p.m. EST
    Topic: Conference call to address any applicant questions
Rural and Tribal
  • Friday, November 1st @ 3:30-4:30 p.m. EST
    Topic: Webinar to discuss application materials

  • Friday, November 8th @ 3:30-4:30 p.m. EST
    Topic: Webinar to discuss application materials, specifically the mapping tool

  • Friday, November 15th @ 3:00-3:30 p.m. EST
    Topic: Conference call to address any applicant questions

  • Friday, November 22th @ 3:00-3:30 p.m. EST
    Topic: Conference call to address any applicant questions
For complete details about the Promise Zones application process and applicant webinar series, including a regularly updated FAQ document, please visit HUD's website here.

For a quick overview of the Promise Zones strategy, check out CSSP's brief released this summer and other related posts from our blog.

Stay tuned to our blog for more details about the Promise Zone application process as they emerge.

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