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CSBG Dear Colleage Letter Promise Zones Initiative

Published: November 19, 2013
Community Services Block Grants (CSBG)
Dear Colleague Notices

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Community Services
Division of State Assistance
370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20447


Community Services Block Grant
Dear Colleague Letter

Re: Promise Zones Initiative

Date: November 19, 2013

Dear Colleagues:

Earlier this year, the Administration announced the Promise Zones Initiative.  Under this initiative, the Federal government will invest and partner with high-poverty urban, rural, and tribal communities to: (1) create jobs, (2) increase economic activity, (3) improve educational opportunities, (4) leverage private investment, and (5) reduce violent crime.  Over the next four years, 20 communities will be designated “Promise Zones” through a transparent, competitive process.

In 2013, only communities that have previously been selected to participate in one of a related set of programs (Choice Neighborhoods, Promise Neighborhoods, Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation grants, etc.) will be eligible to apply. These communities have demonstrated their capacity in one area of the Promise Zones work and have already demonstrated their preparedness to broaden their efforts to additional revitalization priorities. Each of these programs is nationally competitive, and participation in each of them indicates a level of capacity among local institutions that promotes the success of a Promise Zone.  A complete list of communities that meet the 2013 criteria is provided on www.hud.gov/promisezones under the heading ‘Related Information’.

On the Promise Zones website, you will also find an Application Guide with selection criteria and scoring, in addition to a FAQ document.  The application deadline is November 26, 2013.

To our state Community Services Block Grant partners, we encourage you to identify ways you can support communities in furthering this important initiative.

To our local agency partners, we know the wide range of services provided by Community Action Agencies (CAAs) in particular could play a critical role in helping a local community implement a successful strategy.  Some CAAs may even be the organization best situated to serve as the lead  organization and help to convene local partners.

We know some of you may already be in communication with your local partners on this effort -- and if not, we encourage you to reach out to your local officials to discuss what resources you may be able bring to the table.

To learn more about the application process, visit the Promise Zones website to register for the upcoming webinar, which is planned for 2:00PM EST on November 22nd.  If you’d like additional information on the application process, please contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development at promisezone@hud.gov.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the use of CSBG as you consider ways to support an eligible community’s efforts, please speak with your State office or the Office of Community Services (OCS), specifically Seth Hassett (Seth.Hassett@acf.hhs.gov) or Jeannie Chaffin (Jeannie.Chaffin@acf.hhs.gov).

Thank you for your commitment to helping lift people and places up and out of poverty.

Jeannie L. Chaffin                                                          Seth Hassett
Director                                                                          Director, Division of State Assistance
Office of Community Services                                        Office of Community Services