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Empowerment Zones Program

Published on AidPage by IDILOGIC on Jun 24, 2005

Administered by:

Purpose of this program:

The purpose of this program is to provide for the establishment of Empowerment Zones, Enterprise Communities and Renewal Communities in urban and rural areas, to stimulate the creation of new Jobs empowering low-income persons and families receiving public assistance to become economically self-sufficient, particularly for the disadvantaged and long-term unemployed, and to promote revitalization of economically distressed areas. The Renewal Community, Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Community (RC/EZ/EC) program rebuilds communities in America's poverty-stricken inner-cities and rural heartland by inspiring Americans to work together to create jobs and opportunity. Under this program, the Federal government has designated areas that meet certain poverty and distress criteria and prepare creative strategic plans for revitalization. During Round I, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development designated eight urban Empowerment Zones and 65 Enterprise Communities, and the Secretary of Agriculture designated 33 rural Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities. Round I designated areas receive Federal grant funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, Social Services Block Grant (Title XX). In addition they receive special tax benefits and special consideration for funding under other Federal programs. During Round II the Secretary of HUD designated 15 additional urban Empowerment Zones in December 1998. Round II EZs are receiving tax incentives and Federal grants. In December 2001, HUD and USDA designated 8 new urban and 2 new rural Empowement Zones, respectively. HUD also designated 40 Renewal Communities, 28 in urban areas and 12 in rural areas. These Round III EZs and Renewal Community designees will receive tax incentives. Congress provided limited grant funding to the 2 Round III rural EZs in 2004.total area of the noncontiguous parcels must not exceed 2,000 acres; (f) Is located entirely within the jurisdiction of the unit or units of general local government making the nomination, and is located in no more than two contiguous States; and (g) Does not include any portion of a central business district, as this term is used in the most recent Census of Retail Trade, unless the poverty rate for each census tract in the district is not less than 35 percent.