24 CFR 598.615 - Economic development standards.
(a) Economic development standards. The project or activity in an implementation plan submitted for HUD approval by an EZ to describe the planned use of HUD EZ Grant Funds must meet one of the following economic development standards:
(1) Business development assistance. An activity that involves assisting a business in the EZ meets the standard, whether or not the business will create any new jobs. Any such activity must also meet the standards for benefiting a sufficient portion of EZ residents as required under § 598.610. Qualifying activities include the use of HUD EZ Grant Funds to:
(ii) Expand a business, including efforts to stimulate the development or expansion of microenterprises; and
(2) Employment training and assistance. An activity that assists a person to take, or remain in, a job, subject to meeting the standards for benefiting a sufficient proportion of EZ residents as required under § 598.610, including:
(iii) Transportation to or from the place of employment or the place where job training is taking place; or
(iv) Counseling persons on job-related skills, such as how to interview successfully for a job, and dress and act appropriately in the conduct of a job.
(3) Educational assistance. The provision of educational assistance meets the economic development standard only if the EZ's implementation plan demonstrates that such education will be provided to persons who cannot qualify for available jobs because of the lack of some specific knowledge that would be given them through the course(s) to be provided. Any educational assistance provided must also meet the standard for benefiting a sufficient portion of EZ residents as required under § 598.610.
(4) EZ administrative capacity. An activity that increases the capacity of governance board members or staff of the EZ's lead agency to carry out their roles with respect to economic development projects expected to be assisted in support of the EZ's strategic plan is eligible. This includes the cost of attending a conference on economic development. The use of HUD EZ Grant Funds for capacity building under this paragraph is deemed to provide adequate benefit to EZ residents.
(5) Public improvements. The provision of public improvements, such as extension of water or sewer capacity, or street widening, meets the economic development standard only if it is shown in the implementation plan that the lack of the improvements clearly is an impediment to the establishment, expansion or retention of one or more businesses in the EZ, and that the provision of the proposed public improvement would be limited as much as feasible to assisting the business or businesses. Any public improvements must also meet the standard for benefiting a sufficient portion of EZ residents as required under § 598.610.
(b) Exception request. HUD may approve a project or activity that does not fall within any of the previous review standards of this section if the EZ provides evidence that, in some way, the project or activity can reasonably be seen as meeting the economic development standard. Such a project or activity must also meet the standards for benefiting a sufficient portion of EZ residents as required under § 598.610. All requests for such an exception must be in writing, accompanied by the facts that the EZ wants HUD to review and consider as justification. A request by an EZ for an exception under this paragraph (b) will receive a response by HUD no later than 60 days from the date of the EZ's request provided that the EZ's request with all relevant information is considered complete no later than 45 days from the date of the EZ's request.
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