Nominations by State and local governments.
(a) Nomination criteria.
One or more local governments and the State or States in which an urban area is located may nominate such area for designation as an Empowerment Zone and/or as an Enterprise Community, if:
The urban area meets the requirements for eligibility set forth in §§ 597.100 and 597.103 ;
The urban area is within the jurisdiction of a State or States and local government(s) that have the authority to nominate the urban area for designation and that provide written assurances satisfactory to the Secretary that the strategic plan described in paragraph (c) of this section will be implemented;
All information furnished by the nominating State(s) and local government(s) is determined by the Secretary to be reasonably accurate; and
The State(s) and local government(s) certify that no portion of the area nominated is already included in an Empowerment Zone or Enterprise Community or in an area otherwise nominated to be designated under this section.
(b) Nomination for designation.
No urban area may be considered for designation pursuant to subpart D of this part unless the nomination for designation:
Demonstrates that the nominated urban area satisfies the eligibility criteria set forth at § 597.100 ;
Includes a strategic plan, as described in paragraph (c) of this section; and
Includes such other information as may be required by HUD in the application or in a Notice Inviting Applications, to be published in the Federal Register.
(c) Strategic plan.
Each application for designation must be accompanied by a strategic plan, which must be developed in accordance with four key principles, which will also be utilized to evaluate the plan. These principles are:
Economic opportunity, including job creation within the community and throughout the region, as well as entrepreneurial initiatives, small business expansion and training for jobs that offer upward mobility;
Sustainable community development, to advance the creation of liveable and vibrant communities through comprehensive approaches that coordinate economic, physical, community and human development;
Community-based partnerships, involving the participation of all segments of the community, including the political and governmental leadership, community groups, health and social service groups, environmental groups, religious organizations, the private and non-profit sectors, centers of learning and other community institutions; and
Strategic vision for change, which identifies what the community will become and a strategic map for revitalization. The vision should build on assets and coordinate a response to community needs in a comprehensive fashion. It should also set goals and performance benchmarks for measuring progress and establish a framework for evaluating and adjusting the revitalization plan.
(d) Elements of strategic plan.
The strategic plan should:
Indicate and briefly describe the specific groups, organizations, and individuals participating in the production of the plan and describe the history of these groups in the community;
Explain how participants were selected and provide evidence that the participants, taken as a whole, broadly represent the racial, cultural and economic diversity of the community;
Describe the role of the participants in the creation, development and future implementation of the plan;
Identify two or three topics addressed in the plan that caused the most serious disagreements among participants and describe how those disagreements were resolved;
Explain how the community participated in choosing the area to be nominated and why the area was nominated;
Provide evidence that key participants have the capacity to implement the plan;
Provide a brief explanation of the community's vision for revitalizing the area;
Explain how the vision creates economic opportunity, encourages self-sufficiency and promotes sustainable community development;
Identify key needs of the area and the current barriers to achieving the vision for it, including a description of poverty and general distress, barriers to economic opportunity and development and barriers to human development;
Discuss how the vision is related to the assets and needs of the area and its surroundings;
Describe the ways in which the community's approaches to economic development, social/human services, transportation, housing, sustainable community development, public safety, drug abuse prevention, and educational and environmental concerns will be addressed in a coordinated fashion; and explain how these linkages support the community's vision;
Indicate how all Social Services Block Grant funds for designated Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities (EZ/EC SSBG funds) will be utilized.
In doing so, the strategic plan shall provide the following information:
A commitment by the applicant, as well as by the nominating State-chartered economic development corporation or State government(s) and local governments, that the EZ/EC SSBG funds will be used to supplement, not replace, other Federal or non-Federal funds available for financing for services or activities which can be used to achieve or maintain the goals outlined in paragraph (d)(12) of this section;
A description of the entities that will administer the EZ/EC SSBG funds;
A certification by such entities that they will provide periodic reports on the use of the EZ/EC SSBG funds; and
A detailed description of all the activities to be financed with the EZ/EC SSBG funds and how all such funds will be allocated.
The EZ/EC SSBG funds must be used to achieve or maintain the following goals. The goals may be achieved by undertaking one or more of the following program options:
The goal of economic self-support to prevent, reduce or eliminate dependencies, through one or more of the following program options:
(1) Funding community and economic development services focused on disadvantaged adults and youths, including skills training, transportation services and job, housing, business, and financial management counseling;
(2) Supporting programs that promote home ownership, education or other routes to economic independence for low-income families, youths, and other individuals;
(3) Assisting in the provision of emergency and transitional shelter for disadvantaged families, youths, and other individuals;
The goal of self-sufficiency, including reduction or prevention of dependencies, through one or more of the following program options:
(1) Providing assistance to non-profit organizations and/or community and junior colleges that provide disadvantaged adults and youths with opportunities for short-term training courses in entrepreneurial and self employment skills and other training that promotes individual self-sufficiency, and the interest of the community;
(2) Funding programs to provide training and employment for disadvantaged adults and youths in construction, rehabilitation or improvement of affordable housing, public infrastructure and community facilities; and
The goal of prevention or remedying the neglect, abuse or exploitation of children and/or adults unable to protect their own interest; and the goal of preservation, rehabilitation, or reuniting of families, through one or more of the following program options:
(1) Providing support for residential or non-residential drug and alcohol prevention and treatment programs that offer comprehensive services for pregnant women, and mothers and their children;
(2) Establishing programs that provide activities after school hours, including keeping school buildings open during evenings and weekends for mentor and study programs.
Designated Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Communities may work to achieve or maintain the goals outlined in paragraphs (d)(12)(ii)(A) and (B) of this section by using EZ/EC SSBG funds to capitalize revolving or micro-enterprise loan funds which benefit low-income residents of the designated Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities. Similarly, the Zones and Communities may work to achieve or maintain the goals outlined in paragraphs (d)(12)(ii)(A) and (B) of this section by using the EZ/EC SSBG funds to create jobs and promote economic opportunity for low-income families and individuals through matching grants, loans, or investments in community development financial institutions.
If the EZ/EC SSBG funds are to be used for program options not included in paragraph (d)(12)(ii) of this section, the strategic plan must indicate how the proposed activities meet the goals set forth in paragraph (d)(12)(ii) of this section and the reasons the approved program options were not pursued.
To the extent that the EZ/EC SSBG funds are to be used for the program options included in paragraph (d)(12)(ii) of this section, they may be used for the following activities, in addition to those activities permitted by section 2005 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1379d ):
To purchase or improve land or facilities;
To make cash payments to individuals for subsistence or room and board;
To make wage payments to individuals as a social service;
To make cash payments for medical care; and
To provide social services to institutionalized persons.
The State must obligate the EZ/EC SSBG funds in accordance with the strategic plan within 2 years from the date of payment to the State, or remit the unobligated funds to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The strategic plan must indicate how all the EZ/EC SSBG funds will be invested and used for the period of designation of the Empowerment Zone or Enterprise Community.
The strategic plan must provide for periodic reporting of information by the State in which the Empowerment Zone or Enterprise Community is located.
Indicate how tax benefits for designated Zones and Communities, State and local resources, existing Federal resources available to the locality and additional Federal resources believed necessary to implement the strategic plan will be utilized within the Empowerment Zone or Enterprise Community;
Indicate a level of commitment necessary to ensure that these resources will be available to the area upon designation;
Identify the Federal resources applied for or for which applications are planned; if a strategic plan indicates how Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME, Emergency Shelter Grant, and Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) funds will be expended (for the entire locality including the nominated area), the strategic plan will be considered by the Office of Community Planning and Development at HUD toward satisfying the consolidated planning requirements that will soon be issued for these programs;
Identify private resources and support, including assistance from business, non-profit organizations and foundations, which are available to be leveraged with public resources; and provide assurances that these resources will be made available to the area upon designation;
Identify changes necessary to Federal rules and regulations necessary to implement the plan, including specific paperwork or other Federal program requirements that must be altered to permit effective implementation of the strategic plan; and
Identify specific regulatory and other impediments to implementing the strategic plan for which waivers are requested, with appropriate citations and an indication whether waivers can be accomplished administratively or require statutory changes;
Demonstrate how State and local governments will reinvent themselves to help implement the plan, by identifying changes that will be made in State and local organizations, processes and procedures, including laws and ordinances;
Explain how different agencies in State and local governments will work together in new responsive ways to implement the strategic plan;
Identify the specific tasks and timetable necessary to implement the plan;
Describe the partnerships that will be established to carry out the plan;
Explain how the plan will be regularly revised to reflect new information and opportunities; and
Identify benchmarks and goals that should be used in evaluating performance in implementing the plan.
(e) Prohibition against business relocation.
The strategic plan may not include any action to assist any establishment in relocating from one area outside the nominated urban area to the nominated urban area, except that assistance for the expansion of an existing business entity through the establishment of a new branch, affiliate, or subsidiary is permitted if:
The establishment of a new branch, affiliate, or subsidiary will not result in a decrease in employment in the area of original location or in any other area where the existing business entity conducts business operations; and
There is no reason to believe that the new branch, affiliate, or subsidiary is being established with the intention of closing down the operations of the existing business entity in the area of its original location or in any other area where the existing business entity conducts business operations.
(f) Implementation of strategic plan.
The strategic plan may be implemented by the local government(s) and/or by the State(s) nominating an urban area for designation and/or by nongovernmental entities identified in the strategic plan. Activities included in the plan may be funded from any source, Federal, State, local, or private, which provides assistance in the nominated area.
(g) Activities included in strategic plan.
A strategic plan may include, but is not limited to, activities which address:
Economic problems, through measures designed to create job training and employment opportunities; support for business start-up or expansion; or development of community institutions;
Human concerns, through the provision of social services, such as rehabilitation and treatment programs or the provision of training, education, or other services within the affected area;
Community needs, such as the expansion of housing stock and homeownership opportunities, efforts to reduce homelessness, efforts to promote fair housing and equal opportunity, efforts to reduce and prevent crime and improve security in the area; and
Physical improvements, such as the provision or improvement of recreational areas, transportation or other public services within the affected area, and improvements to the infrastructure and environmental protection.