The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Secretary Dr. Benjamin Carson issued a report to President Donald Trump on the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council.
The Department states the report includes 180 items that have already been undertaken by the Council during its first year of creation.
Updates in the report includes information on reforms that streamline existing regulations; actions that protect taxpayers by optimizing use of Federal resources; practices that stimulate economic opportunity and mobility; ideas that encourage entrepreneurship; pathways to expand quality educational opportunities; efforts to develop and rehabilitate quality housing stock; and recommendations to promote workforce development, safety, and the prevention of crime.
"When President Trump first took the oath of office, he vowed that our nation's forgotten men and women would be forgotten no more - and through his unprecedented support for economic opportunity initiatives, this is not just a promise made: it is a promise he has delivered," Carson said.
Scott Turner, Executive Director of the Council, said HUD’s report is a “manifestation of the incredible inter-agency collaboration embraced by the Council.
"Our team is unified and encouraged by what we have seen across the country, and we will continue to effectuate policies that help those individuals living in economically distressed communities, including Opportunity Zones," Turner said.
The report states that 52 million live in economically distressed communities, including 35 million who reside in Opportunity Zones.
“A lack of investment has contributed to this economic distress, and a lack of access to economic opportunity can lead to negative outcomes in the vital measures that matter to all communities, including high unemployment rates, stagnant wages, low graduation rates, unsafe neighborhoods, and shorter life expectancy,” HUD states.
Among the programs presented in the report were the Rural Housing Preservation Program, Farm Labor Housing (FLH) Loans for OffFarm Housing, and FLH Grants for Off-Farm Housing.
All three programs encourage investors to invest in Opportunity Zones in rural areas to help create more sustainable housing and provide a boost to local economies.