On June 6, 2017, the Evansville community leaders and key partners commemorated the one-year anniversary of the Evansville Promise Zone designation in a convening coordinated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the City of Evansville and the Evansville Promise Zone lead partner ECHO. The milestone was marked by hosting a federal interagency convening including over 100 community leaders and Federal leaders representing nine different federal agencies hoping to infuse the Evansville community with resources, technical assistance and subject matter expertise.
In June 2016, Evansville, Indiana was designated as a Promise Zone, and we continue to work diligently to connect local stakeholders with federal partners to address the following key initiative objectives: to increase employment opportunities, expand economic development, improve educational opportunities, reduce violent crime, promote health and access to healthcare and to provide access to quality affordable housing.
This convening provided a forum for residents, local organizations and stakeholders alongside key federal agencies, to discuss how Promise Zone partners can identify and apply for funding and technical assistance opportunities. Now, one year later, change is underway. “The Promise Zone designation has been used to secure over $16.3 million in state, local and federal support with over $20 million remaining in pending grants applications across nine different agencies and foundations,” said James A. Cunningham, Deputy Director of the HUD Midwest Regional Office.
“The Promise Zone will provide the necessary funding and expertise the City of Evansville needs to begin to address many of the long-standing problems that have plagued our community for decades,” said Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke. “Thousands of residents will benefit tremendously from programs and services that will result from this concerted effort to rebuild distressed neighborhoods, and the entire city will prosper as more citizens are lifted out of poverty, property values are stabilized and families in need receive better access to affordable housing and health care.”
The Evansville Promise Zone has played a significant role in securing projects to help eliminate the disparities occurring within the homeless population. Three Low Income Housing Tax Credit projects were awarded totaling $16 million for three housing developments providing over 100 new beds for the community at large which will help address the need for affordable housing.
The Promise Zone also continues to have a direct impact on new developments such as the Jacobsville North Main “Complete Street”, North Main Business Corridor development and new developments in downtown Evansville, including the completion of the Doubletree Hotel and IU School of Medicine. These activities will not only benefit the Promise Zone but the City of Evansville as well.
As a part of this initiative, HUD hosted a Federal Grant Writing and Capacity Building Training last month that was at capacity in an effort to support the community among numerous Promise Zone convenings hosted over the last year.