Mayor Warren with U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson with Anna Ulibarry (Pictured R) at CityLink Facility
Late last month Dr. Ben Carson, head of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), visited the CityLink Water of Life Community Church, part of an opportunity zone in the City of Fontana. Opportunity Zones are low income areas identified as having the potential to spur economic development.
Commenting on the opportunity zone programs Carson stated, “The Opportunity Zone programs provide much needed capital to revitalize areas that would not otherwise be revitalized,” he noted adding, “As you start to see development, other people will come in.”
Carson, who also serves as the Chairman of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, toured The Water of Life Community Church because it is one of the organizations that currently receives funding through HUD’s Emergency Solutions Grant which provides valuable resources which include rent assistance, a food pantry, a thrift store and a mobile medical clinic.
Before touring the Water of Life Community Church facility, Secretary Carson met at city hall with Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren, members of the city council and select community leaders for a round table discussion.
HUD recently announced the low-income housing tax credit financing pilot program will now include new construction and substantial rehabilitation of multifamily projects only.
Observers are hopeful this approach will help speed up the application process for developers who want to use the low-income tax credit to build apartment projects from the ground up while also reducing the processing time for developers looking to rehabilitate old buildings in identified Opportunity Zones.
Although the HUD Opportunity Zone program remains popular, there are some critics who believe the tax incentive program is not going to many of the areas across the country that are most in need.