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Empowerment Zones Program

Published on AidPage by IDILOGIC on Jun 24, 2005

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Who is eligible to apply...

(Note: This criteria is for the "urban zone" applicants. Eligibility criteria for Renewal Communities may differ slightly. Interested parties are advised to Review the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 or visit the urban EZ/EC website at www.hud.gov/cr for more detailed eligibility criteria for Renewal Communities. Also, see the Dept of Agriculture section for "rural zone" applicant eligibility.) A nominated urban area may be eligible for designation if the area: (a) Has a maximum population which is the lesser of (1) 200,000 or (2) the greater of 50,000 or 10 percent of the population of the most populous city located within the nominated area; (b) is one of pervasive poverty, unemployment and general distress; (c) does not exceed twenty square miles in total land area; (d) demonstrates a poverty rate which is not less than: (1) 20 percent in each census tract; (2) for at least 90 percent of the census tracts within the nominated urban area, the poverty rate must be not less than 25 percent; (3) census tracts with no population are treated as having a poverty rate that meets the standards of (l) and (2) above; and (4) a census tract that has a population of less than 2,000 is treated as having a poverty rate that meets the requirements of (l) and (2) above if more than 75 percent of the tract is zoned for commercial or industrial use; (e) Has a continuous boundary, or consists of not more than six(6)noncontiguous parcels. A nominated urban area must not contain a noncontiguous parcel unless such parcel separately meets the criteria set forth in (1) and (2) above, except for sites that can be developed. The 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.

Eligible Applicant Categories:
Eligible Functional Categories:

Interested parties should visit the urban RC/EZ/EC website (www.hud.gov/cr) and the rural EZ/EC website (www.ezec.gov) periodically for updated information on applying for future designations. There is no funding available to make additional Renewal Community or Empowerment Zone designations in 2004. The following describes what was required from Round III EZ applicants and what could be required in a comprehensive strategic plan for future applicants: The strategic plan, which accompanies the application for designation, must be developed in accordance with four key principles:(1) strategic vision for change, which identifies what the community will become and a strategic map for revitalization; (2) community-based partnerships, involving the participation of all segments of the community; (3) economic opportunity, including job creation within the community and throughout the region; and (4) sustainable community development, to advance the creation of livable and vibrant communities through comprehensive approaches that coordinate economic, physical, environmental, community and human development. The strategic plan must include the following elements: (l) vision and values the community's strategic vision for change, a statement of what the community wishes to be like in the future, and a statement of the community's values that guided the creation of the vision; (2) community assessment - a comprehensive assessment of existing conditions and trends within the community, which includes, as a minimum: (i) assessment of problems and opportunities; (ii) resource analysis; (3) goals - a statement of a comprehensive and holistic set of goals to be achieved through implementation of the strategic plan throughout the l0-year implementation period, and a statement of the strategies the community proposes to use to achieve the strategic plan goals, and the identification of priority objectives; (4) implementation plan is a detailed plan that outlines how the community will implement its strategic plan over the first two-year implementation period. The plan will include: projects and programs, tax incentive utilization plan, governance plan, and community performance assessment; (5) strategic planning process documentation - a description of the process the community used to select the boundaries of the proposed Empowerment Zone, including the developable sites and to prepare the strategic plan; and (6) documentation of commitments - letters of commitment, resolutions committing public or private resources, and other documentation that will demonstrate the level of public and private resources, both inside and outside the nominated area, that will be available to implement the strategic plan and increase economic opportunity in the nominated Empowerment Zone.

Note:This is a brief description of the credentials or documentation required prior to, or along with, an application for assistance.

About this section:

This section indicates who can apply to the Federal government for assistance and the criteria the potential applicant must satisfy. For example, individuals may be eligible for research grants, and the criteria to be satisfied may be that they have a professional or scientific degree, 3 years of research experience, and be a citizen of the United States. Universities, medical schools, hospitals, or State and local governments may also be eligible. Where State governments are eligible, the type of State agency will be indicated (State welfare agency or State agency on aging) and the criteria that they must satisfy.

Certain federal programs (e.g., the Pell Grant program which provides grants to students) involve intermediate levels of application processing, i.e., applications are transmitted through colleges or universities that are neither the direct applicant nor the ultimate beneficiary. For these programs, the criteria that the intermediaries must satisfy are also indicated, along with intermediaries who are not eligible.