ATLANTA – Mayor Kasim Reed joined U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro today to announce the City of Atlanta has been named a Promise Zone community. Through the Promise Zone Initiative, the city will work strategically with HUD and other federal agencies to boost economic activity and job growth, improve educational opportunities, reduce crime and leverage private investment to improve the quality of life in the “Westside Promise Zone,” which is comprised of the historic Atlanta University Center neighborhood, Ashview Heights, Vine City, English Avenue and Castleberry Hill.
“Promise Zones bring the power of partnership to a whole new level as we seek to bring opportunity to neighborhoods long locked out of their area’s prosperity,” said Secretary Castro. “As a former mayor from a city that includes a Promise Zone, I know just how powerful these collaborations are when it comes to building stronger, economically vital neighborhoods.”
In September 2015, HUD awarded the City of Atlanta a $30 million CHOICE Neighborhoods Implementation Grant, which has already enabled the city to leverage additional public and private funds to assist in revitalizing the five Westside neighborhoods.
“I want to extend my thanks to Secretary Castro and our many partners in this work to revitalize five challenged but optimistic communities,” said Mayor Reed. “Earning the Promise Zone designation for our Westside neighborhoods is a powerful sign that our efforts are gaining traction and are laying the foundation for sustainable, equitable change.”
The City of Atlanta Department of Planning and Community Development led the Promise Zone application process in partnership with the Atlanta Housing Authority, Atlanta Public Schools, Atlanta Regional Commission, Atlanta University Center Consortium, Inc., the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency, Invest Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta.
Atlanta is one of nine Promise Zones announced today, including Nashville, TN; Evansville, ID; South Los Angeles, CA; San Diego, CA; the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Commission; Spokane Tribe of Indians, WA; Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, Rolette County, ND; and Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. These communities were selected from 82 applications from 38 states and Puerto Rico. Each urban, rural, and tribal Promise Zone applicant was asked to put together a clear description of how the Promise Zone designation would accelerate and strengthen the community’s own efforts at comprehensive community revitalization. Each Promise Zone will be coordinated by a lead community based organization in partnership with the Obama Administration. HUD will be the federal lead for the five urban designees, while USDA will serve as the lead federal partner to the tribal and rural Promise Zones.
All Promise Zones will receive priority access to federal investments that further their strategic plans, federal staff on the ground to help them implement their goals, and five full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members to recruit and manage volunteers and strengthen the capacity of the Promise Zone initiatives.
Today’s newly designated Promise Zones join 13 others that President Obama designated in 2014 and 2015. Additional information on rural and Tribal Promise Zones is available at www.usda.gov/promisezones.