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"Promise Zone" Program Brings Grants To Poor Communities

The Promise Zone program was implemented to help cities and counties work with federal agencies to develop ways to help poor communities.

Tyrone Roderick Williams, with the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency and Director of the Sacramento Promise Zone, says no money was guaranteed to any of the communities selected. But, since the designation, $55 million in federal and private grants have been awarded to programs run by the City, the County and Sacramento-area non-profits.

"It's working across education, job training and placement, community revitalization, health and nutrition, economic development focusing on our small businesses in those neighborhood business districts," Williams says.

$30 million has gone to redevelop the Twin Rivers area, and $7 million has gone to education programs at Sacramento State.

"What we've seen is, not only at the local level, but state agencies are now looking at how they can partner with us in going after federal dollars," Williams says. "That is a new opportunity that does not really materialize before we receive the designation."

The Promise Zone is a ten year program for 22 low-income communities nationwide. Sacramento's leaders speak monthly with colleagues in other cities to compare notes.

Sacramento's area includes Del Paso Heights, the Railyards, Midtown, Broadway, Oak Park and parts of south Sacramento. About 128,000 people combined live in those areas. About one-third live in poverty. Nearly one-fifth are unemployed.

The City will make a presentation at 4:30 Thursday at the Maple Neighborhood Center on 37th Avenue.

Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob reports on all things northern California and Nevada. His coverage of police technology, local athletes, and the environment has won a regional Associated Press and several Edward R. Murrow awards.   Read Full Bio 

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