Promise Zone Town Hall meeting scheduled in Lowcountry

A rural swath of the Lowcountry has been designated as a “Promise Zone” by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The plan allows trained federal workers to help affected counties apply for grants, particularly for applications submitted towards education, jobs, and low-income housing.

 

The Obama Administration announced Tuesday, April 28 eight additional Promise Zones across the country, including the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Promise Zones are high poverty communities where the federal government partners with local leaders to increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, leverage private investment, reduce violent crime, enhance public health and address other priorities identified by the community. Through the Promise Zone designation, these communities will work directly with federal, state and local agencies to give local leaders proven tools to improve the quality of life in some of the country’s most vulnerable areas.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced new Promise Zone designations in the following communities:

– Camden, New Jersey
– Hartford, Connecticut
– Indianapolis, Indiana
– Minneapolis, Minnesota
– Sacramento, California
– St. Louis/St. Louis County, Missouri
– Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, South Dakota
– South Carolina Low Country

RELATED: South Carolina Promise Zone

“From my time as Mayor to my tenure as Secretary, I’ve seen first-hand how a Promise Zone designation can spark progress and possibilities in underserved neighborhoods,” said HUD Secretary Castro. “A zip code should never limit the hopes that folks have for themselves or for their children. We’re proud to be working with a wide-variety of local leaders to strengthen neighborhoods and to unlock doors of opportunity that have been closed for far too long.”

“The Promise Zone effort is proof positive that partnerships are the key to community economic development,” said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. “Families and children in rural and tribal communities are full of potential to compete and succeed in the 21st Century. When we invest our resources and establish long-lasting public-private alliances to strengthen educational opportunities, deliver health care, build infrastructure and create jobs, we are investing in our country’s future.”

To celebrate the newly designated zones, events were held across the country in each of the new urban zones. Secretary Julián Castro, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development visited St. Louis, Secretary Arne Duncan, U.S. Department of Education visited Minneapolis, CEO, Wendy Spencer, Corporation for National and Community Service visited Indianapolis, Deputy Secretary, Nani Coloretti, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, visited Hartford and HUD Regional Administrators held events in Camden, NJ and Sacramento, CA. To highlight the rural zone designations of South Carolina’s Low Country and South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Secretary Tom Vilsack hosted media calls for South Carolina and South Dakota.

Promise Zone communities were selected from 123 applications from 36 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, DC. 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 six 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.

Third Round Promise Zone Competition

A competition to select a third round of Promise Zones will commence later this year. In the Summer of 2015, HUD will publish a Notice in the Federal Register requesting public comment on the proposed selection process, criteria, and submissions for the final round of the Promise Zones initiative. This notice will provide urban, rural, and tribal communities the opportunity to help shape the third round application guide and efforts to support other communities more effectively in future years.

Southern Carolina Alliance will host Promise Zone Town Hall Meetings this week in the Lowcountry

Colleton County Town Hall meeting

  • WHEN: 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., July 15, 2015 (doors open at 7:30 a.m.)
  • WHERE: Main Classroom Building, Room 111, USC Salkehatchie, 807 Hampton St., Walterboro
  • PARKING: Large parking lot adjacent to the building

Hampton County Town Hall meeting

  • WHEN: 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., July 15, 2015 (doors open at 4 p.m.)
  • WHERE: Market Square, 45 W. Carolina Avenue, Varnville, SC
  • PARKING: Parking lot adjacent to the building

Jasper County Town Hall meeting

  • WHEN: 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., July 16, 2015 (doors open at 7:30 a.m.)
  • WHERE: Jasper County Council Chambers, Jasper County Government Building, 358 Third St., Ridgeland, SC
  • PARKING: Parking lot adjacent to the building

 

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