Review of HUD Policy in Opportunity Zones, 16029-16032 [2019-07682]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 74 / Wednesday, April 17, 2019 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR–6155–N–01] Review of HUD Policy in Opportunity Zones Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research (PD&R), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). ACTION: Request for information. AGENCY: Consistent with Executive Order 13853, ‘‘Establishing the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council,’’ this document informs the public that HUD intends to maximize the beneficial impact of investment in Opportunity Zones. HUD is reviewing its existing policies, practices, planned actions, regulations, and guidance regarding HUD-administered programs and laws to identify actions HUD can take to encourage beneficial investment, both public and private, in urban and economically distressed communities, including qualified Opportunity Zones. HUD seeks input and recommendations from the public regarding potential agency actions. DATES: Comment Due Date: June 17, 2019. SUMMARY: Interested parties are invited to submit comments regarding this request for information. There are two methods for submitting public comments. All submissions must refer to the above docket number and title. 1. Submission of Comments by Mail. Comments may be submitted by mail to the Public Finance and Regulatory Analysis Division, Office of Policy Development and Research, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW, Room 8216, Washington, DC 20410–0500. 2. Electronic Submission of Comments. Interested persons may submit comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. HUD strongly encourages the public to submit ideas electronically. Electronic submission of ideas allows the submitter maximum time to formulate and present the suggestion, ensures timely receipt by HUD, and enables HUD to make the ideas received immediately available to the public. Suggestions submitted electronically through the www.regulations.gov website can be viewed by interested members of the public. Members of the public should follow the instructions provided on that site to submit suggestions electronically. amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES ADDRESSES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:23 Apr 16, 2019 Jkt 247001 Note: To receive consideration, ideas must be submitted through one of the two methods specified above. Again, all submissions must refer to the docket number and title of the request for information. No Facsimile Submissions: Facsimile (fax) submissions are not acceptable. Public review of information received: All information properly submitted for consideration by HUD will be available for inspection and downloading at www.regulations.gov. Members of the public without ready access to the internet may request an appointment to review the information submitted by calling the Public Finance and Regulatory Analysis Division at 202– 402–2967 (this is not a toll-free number). Individuals with speech or hearing impairments may access this number via TTY by calling the Federal Relay Service at 1–800–877–8339 (this is a toll-free number). An appointment for public inspection and copying of the information must be scheduled in advance and will occur between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays at the above address. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel Marcin, Economist, Public Finance and Regulatory Analysis Division, Office of Policy Development and Research, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW, Room 8216, Washington, DC 20410–0500; telephone number 202– 402–2967 (this is not a toll-free number). Persons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number through TTY by calling the tollfree Federal Relay Service at 1–800– 877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Context: Opportunity Zones and the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Pub. L. 115–97) created new tax incentives for investments made in Opportunity Zones to spur economic development and job creation by encouraging longterm investment in low-income communities nationwide. Opportunity Zones are designated census tracts that provide incentives for long-term private sector investment in economically distressed communities. State executives nominated census tracts of communities most in need of private investment to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which then certified the tracts as Opportunity Zones. The Opportunity Zone designation encourages investment in these certified census tracts by granting investors extensive Federal tax advantages for PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16029 using their capital gains to finance new projects and enterprises (or substantially improve existing projects and enterprises) located within Opportunity Zones. Executive Order 13853 created the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council with the HUD Secretary (or the Secretary’s designee) as the Chair. This Executive Order directs the Council to: (a) Assess the actions each Federal agency can take under existing authorities to prioritize or focus Federal investments and programs on urban and economically distressed communities, including qualified opportunity zones; (b) Assess the actions each agency can take under existing authorities to minimize all regulatory and administrative costs and burdens that discourage public and private investment in urban and economically distressed communities, including qualified opportunity zones; (c) Regularly consult with officials from State, local, and tribal governments and individuals from the private sector to solicit feedback on how best to stimulate the economic development of urban and economically distressed areas, including qualified opportunity zones; (d) Coordinate Federal interagency efforts to help ensure that private and public stakeholders—such as investors; business owners; institutions of higher education (including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as defined by 50 U.S.C. 3224(g)(2), and tribally controlled colleges and universities, as defined by 25 U.S.C. 1801(a)(4)); K–12 education providers; early care and education providers; human services agencies; State, local, and tribal leaders; public housing agencies; non-profit organizations; and economic development organizations—can successfully develop strategies for economic growth and revitalization; (e) Recommend policies that would: (i) Reduce and streamline regulatory and administrative burdens, including burdens on applicants applying for multiple Federal assistance awards; (ii) Help community-based applicants, including recipients of investments from qualified opportunity funds, identify and apply for relevant Federal resources; and (iii) Make it easier for recipients to receive and manage multiple types of public and private investments, including by aligning certain program requirements; (f) Evaluate the following: (i) Whether and how agencies can prioritize support for urban and economically distressed areas, including E:\FR\FM\17APN1.SGM 17APN1 16030 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 74 / Wednesday, April 17, 2019 / Notices amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES qualified opportunity zones, in their grants, financing, and other assistance; (ii) Appropriate methods for Federal cooperation with and support for States, localities, and tribes that are innovatively and strategically facilitating economic growth and inclusion in urban and economically distressed communities, including qualified opportunity zones, consistent with preserving State, local, and tribal control; (iii) Whether and how to develop an integrated web-based tool through which entrepreneurs, investors, and other stakeholders can see the full range of applicable Federal financing programs and incentives available to projects located in urban and economically distressed areas, including qualified opportunity zones; (iv) Whether and how to consider urban and economically distressed areas, including qualified opportunity zones, as possible locations for Federal buildings, through consultation with the General Services Administration; (v) Whether and how Federal technical assistance, planning, financing tools, and implementation strategies can be coordinated across agencies to assist communities in addressing economic problems, engaging in comprehensive planning, and advancing regional collaboration; and (vi) What data, metrics, and methodologies can be used to measure the effectiveness of public and private investments in urban and economically distressed communities, including qualified opportunity zones. II. Overview of Opportunity Zones There are more than 8,700 Census tracts designated by a Governor or other chief administrative official as Opportunity Zones across all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. The following are relevant data and characteristics of the Opportunity Zones and those who reside within Opportunity Zones: • Nearly 35 million Americans live in communities designated as Opportunity Zones. • On average, the median family income in an Opportunity Zone is 37 percent below the State median. • More than one-in-five of all Opportunity Zones have a poverty rate over 40 percent, compared to just over one-in-eight ‘‘low-income communities’’ (LICs) and one-in-20 Census tracts nationwide. • 71 percent of Opportunity Zones meet the U.S. Treasury Department’s definition of ‘‘severely distressed.’’ 1 1 ‘‘Severely distressed’’ generally means a poverty rate of 30 percent or a median family income no VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:23 Apr 16, 2019 Jkt 247001 • Life expectancy is on average three years shorter for Opportunity Zone residents than it is nationally. • Approximately 22 percent of Opportunity Zone adult residents have not attained a high school diploma, compared to 13 percent nationally. 2010–2016 within Opportunity Zones.3 These are 68 percent of all Choice Neighborhood Grants and 86 percent of national Choice Neighborhood Grant spending. 46 of these grants were Planning Grants, and the other 19 were Implementation Grants. III. HUD-Supported Programs and Initiatives Within Opportunity Zones Office of Housing Below is a snapshot of HUD’s programs and initiatives within Opportunity Zones.2 These statistics are being provided in order to facilitate the public’s thought process—as well as generate ideas and answers to the questions asked later in this request for information—regarding HUD’s existing program presence within Opportunity Zones. Most numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand. Where percentages of the total are given, those percentages exclude data for which location is unreliable or misleading. General Æ 2,394,000 persons living in HUDassisted housing within Opportunity Zones, representing about 27 percent of residents of HUD-assisted housing. Æ 14 proposed EnVision Center sites inside or within 1 mile of an Opportunity Zone. Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) Æ 371,000 public housing units within Opportunity Zones, representing about 38 percent of the total. Æ 738,000 persons living in public housing within Opportunity Zones, representing about 39 percent of the total. Æ 2,254 public housing developments within Opportunity Zones, or about 33 percent of the national total. Æ 465,000 housing choice voucher (HCV) units within Opportunity Zones, 22 percent of the total. Æ 992,000 persons with HCVs, or 21 percent of the national total, living within Opportunity Zones. Æ 62,000 project-based voucher (PBV) units within Opportunity Zones, which is 32 percent of the total. Æ 116,000 persons living in PBV units within Opportunity Zones, representing 32 percent of the total. Æ 65 Choice Neighborhood Grants— with a total of approximately $571,643,000 in grant funding—from greater than 60 percent of the area benchmark. See The State of Socioeconomic Need and Community Change in Opportunity Zones, Economic Innovation Group (Dec. 2018). https://eig.org/ opportunityzones/communitychange. 2 These statistics are current as of December 17, 2018. PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Æ 337,000 project-based rental assistance (PBRA) units within Opportunity Zones, or 27 percent of the national total. Æ 548,000 persons living in PBRA units within Opportunity Zones, or 27 percent of the total. Æ 2,400 Multi-Family (MF) housing properties with Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance within Opportunity Zones, representing 21 percent of multifamily housing properties with FHA mortgage insurance. Æ $14,755,260,000 in unpaid principal balance for MF properties with FHA mortgage insurance within Opportunity Zones, for 17 percent of the national total. Æ 617,000 FHA-insured SingleFamily properties within Opportunity Zones, or 8 percent of the total. Æ $75,353,474,000 in unpaid principal balance for Single-Family properties with FHA mortgage insurance within Opportunity Zones, or 6 percent of all Single-Family unpaid principal balance. Æ 536 healthcare facilities with FHA mortgage insurance in Opportunity Zones, representing 12 percent of all such facilities. Æ $4,017,448,000 in unpaid principal balance for healthcare facilities with FHA insurance in Opportunity Zones, representing 12 percent of the total unpaid principal balance on FHAinsured mortgages on healthcare facilities. Æ Almost one-third of Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Component 1 conversions fall within Opportunity Zones. Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) Æ Over 1,200 cities, urban counties, States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Territories received over $3,000,000,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding each year between fiscal years 2014 and 2019. Since all communities can potentially receive CDBG funding, either directly from HUD or through their respective State government, funds could be used to 3 Grant is counted if the target area contains the center of one or more Opportunity Zone Census tracts. E:\FR\FM\17APN1.SGM 17APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 74 / Wednesday, April 17, 2019 / Notices assist activities and projects in Opportunity Zones nationwide. Æ There are 600 outstanding Section 108 guaranteed loans with an outstanding loan balance of $1,250,000,000 for community and economic development projects nationwide. Under the Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program, CBDG grantees nationwide have approximately $14 billion in available borrowing capacity that could potentially be deployed in Opportunity Zones. Æ Approximately $84,000,000,000 in Community Development Block Grant— Disaster Recovery (CDBG–DR) funds has been awarded since 2001 to help cities, counties, and States recover from Presidentially-declared disasters. Nearly half of this amount has been awarded in response to disasters occurring between 2015 and 2017. Since CDBG–DR assistance may fund a broad range of recovery activities, these funds could be used in eligible disaster-impacted Opportunity Zones. Æ 256,000 HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) housing projects completed—with a total of approximately $2,853,095,000 in grant funds expended—from 1996–2018 within Opportunity Zones. amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES Office of Field Policy and Management (FPM) Æ There are 186 Opportunity Zones within HUD’s 14 Urban Promise Zones. Æ An approximate numerical breakdown of Opportunity Zones throughout HUD’s 10 regions: Region I: 344 Region II: 683 Region III: 741 Region IV: 2,529 Region V: 1,339 Region VI: 1,043 Region VII: 341 Region VIII: 272 Region IX: 1,194 Region X: 278 IV. Purpose of This Request for Information HUD has determined that it should undertake a substantive review of existing policies, practices, planned actions, regulations and guidance regarding HUD-administered programs to identify actions HUD can take to encourage beneficial investment in urban and economically distressed communities, including Opportunity Zones, while continuing to fulfill its mission to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. In conducting this review, HUD believes that it would benefit from the information and perspectives of State, local and tribal VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:23 Apr 16, 2019 Jkt 247001 officials, experts in relevant disciplines, affected stakeholders in the private sector, and the public as a whole. HUD is, therefore, requesting information to guide and enhance this review. VI. Specific Information Requested To assist in HUD’s approach to Opportunity Zones, HUD invites ideas and information on the following questions: (1) How should HUD use its existing authorities to maximize the beneficial impact of public and private investments in urban and economically distressed communities, including Opportunity Zones? For example: a. What actions can HUD take under existing authorities to prioritize or focus Federal investments and programs on urban and economically distressed communities, including Opportunity Zones? b. What actions can HUD take under existing authorities to minimize all of the regulatory and administrative costs and burdens that discourage public and private investment in urban and economically distressed communities, including Opportunity Zones? c. What tools can HUD provide to make local communities, investors and other stakeholders more aware of the full range of applicable Federal financing programs and incentives available to projects located in urban and economically distressed areas, including Opportunity Zones? d. What polices could HUD implement that would help communitybased applicants, including recipients of investments from Qualified Opportunity Funds, identify and apply for relevant Federal resources? e. What policies could HUD implement that would make it easier for recipients to receive and manage multiple types of public and private investments, including by aligning certain program requirements? (2) HUD is considering creating an information portal on Opportunity Zones. What types of information should HUD include in such a tool? How can it be made accessible to and most usable by HUD’s various stakeholders and customers? If the portal includes information on Federal financing programs and incentives beyond those offered by HUD, what types of information would be most useful to include? (3) In what ways could HUD structure preference points for Opportunity Zones and incorporate policy objectives in the rating factors for applications in discretionary grant competitions to increase the incentive to invest in Opportunity Zones? In addition, how PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16031 should HUD prioritize support for urban and economically distressed areas, including Opportunity Zones, in its grants, financing, and other assistance? (4) What types of technical assistance should be offered through HUD? (5) What role can HUD play in helping to ensure that existing residents, businesses, and community organizations in Opportunity Zones benefit from the influx of investment and remain the focus of their community’s growth moving forward? (6) How can HUD properly evaluate the impact of Opportunity Zones on communities? (7) How should HUD interact with other stakeholders to maximize the success of the Opportunity Zone incentive? For example: a. How should HUD interact with officials from State, local, and tribal governments, institutions, local and regional agencies, businesses, and individuals from the private sector to most effectively encourage beneficial investment in urban and economically distressed areas? b. How should HUD participate in Federal interagency efforts to help ensure that private and public stakeholders can successfully develop strategies for economic growth and revitalization in urban and economically distressed areas? Stakeholders might include investors; business owners; institutions of higher education (including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as defined by 50 U.S.C. 3224(g)(2), and tribally controlled colleges and universities, as defined by 25 U.S.C. 1801(a)(4)); K–12 education providers; early care and education providers; human services agencies; State, local, and tribal leaders; public housing agencies; non-profit organizations; and economic development organizations. c. How should Federal technical assistance, planning, financing tools, and implementation strategies be coordinated across agencies to assist communities in addressing economic problems, engaging in comprehensive planning, and advancing regional collaboration? (8) How might Qualified Opportunity Fund investments support the goal of ending homelessness? (9) Are there other aspects of Opportunity Zones that should be considered and are not addressed in this request for information? E:\FR\FM\17APN1.SGM 17APN1 16032 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 74 / Wednesday, April 17, 2019 / Notices Dated: April 11, 2019. Todd M. Richardson, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research. [FR Doc. 2019–07682 Filed 4–16–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR–6147–N–01] Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments Program—Fiscal Year 2019 Inflation Factors for Public Housing Agency Renewal Funding Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research, HUD. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: This notice establishes Renewal Funding Inflation Factors (RFIFs) to adjust Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 renewal funding for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program of each public housing agency (PHA), as required by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019. The notice apportions the expected percent change in national Per Unit Cost (PUC) for the HCV program, 4.00 percent, to each PHA based on the change in Fair Market Rents (FMRs) for their operating area to produce the FY 2019 RFIFs. HUD’s FY 2019 methodology is the same as that which was used in FY 2018. Applicable Date: April 17, 2019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact Miguel A. Fontanez, Director, Housing Voucher Financial Division, Office of Public Housing and Voucher Programs, Office of Public and Indian Housing, telephone number 202–402– 4212; or Peter B. Kahn, Director, Program Parameters and Research Division, Office of Policy Development and Research, telephone number 202– 402–2409, for technical information regarding the development of the schedules for specific areas or the methods used for calculating the inflation factors. Their address is: Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW, Washington, DC 20410. Hearing- or speech-impaired persons may contact the Federal Relay Service at 800–877– 8339 (TTY). Other than the ‘‘800’’ TTY number, the above-listed telephone numbers are not toll free. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: I. Background Division G, Title II of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 requires that the HUD Secretary, for the VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:23 Apr 16, 2019 Jkt 247001 calendar year 2019 funding cycle, provide renewal funding for each public housing agency (PHA) based on validated voucher management system (VMS) leasing and cost data for the prior calendar year and by applying an inflation factor as established by the Secretary, by notice published in the Federal Register. This notice announces the availability of the FY 2019 inflation factors and describes the methodology for calculating them. Tables in PDF and Microsoft Excel formats showing Renewal Funding Inflation Factors (RFIFs) by HUD Fair Market Rent Area are available electronically from the HUD data information page at: https:// www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/rfif/ rfif.html. II. Methodology RFIFs are used to adjust the allocation of HCV program funds to PHAs for local changes in rents, utility costs, and tenant incomes. To calculate the RFIFs, HUD first forecasts a national inflation factor, which is the annual change in the national average Per Unit Cost (PUC). HUD then calculates individual area inflation factors, which are based on the annual changes in the twobedroom Fair Market Rent (FMR) for each area. Finally, HUD adjusts the individual area inflation factors to be consistent with the national inflation factor. HUD’s forecast of the national average PUC is based on forecasts of gross rent and tenant income. Each forecast is produced using historical and forecasted macroeconomic data as independent variables, where the forecasts are consistent with the Economic Assumptions of the Administration’s FY 2019 Budget. The forecast of gross rent is itself based on forecasts of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) Rent of Primary Residence Index and the CPI Fuels and Utilities Index. Forecasted values of these series are applied to the FY 2019 national average two-bedroom FMR to produce a CY 2019 value. A ‘‘notional’’ PUC is calculated as the difference between gross rent value and 30 percent of tenant income (the standard for tenant rent contribution in the voucher program). The change between the forecasted CY 2019 notional PUC and the CY 2018 notional PUC is the expected national change in PUC, or 4.00 percent. HUD uses a notional PUC as opposed to the actual PUC to project costs that are consistent with PHAs leasing the same number and quality of units. For more information on HUD’s forecast methodology, see 82 FR 26710. In cases where the FY 2019 FMR is not based on an ad hoc rent survey, the PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 inflation factor for an individual geographic area is based on the annualized change in the area’s FMR between FY 2018 and FY 2019. These changes in FMRs are then scaled such that the voucher-weighted average of all individual area inflation factors is equal to the national inflation factor, i.e., the expected annual change in national PUC from CY 2018 to CY 2019, and such that no area has a factor less than one. For PHAs operating in multiple FMR areas, HUD calculates a voucher-weighted average inflation factor based on the count of vouchers in each FMR area administered by the PHA as captured in HUD administrative data as of December 31, 2018. In 2018, HUD sought comment on potential alternatives to calculate renewal funding inflation factors for areas with an FMR that is based on an ad hoc rent survey (see FR–6099–N–01). In recent years, the use of surveys has resulted in large inflation factors in the first year an ad hoc survey is used in the FMR calculation, followed by much smaller inflation factors even as the underlying survey remains in effect. Commenters generally stressed the importance of including ad hoc surveys in the inflation factor calculation to ensure agencies that face higher per unit costs also receive higher funding. Therefore, HUD is continuing to use its existing methodology of incorporating ad hoc surveys in the calculation of inflation factors. HUD will also track and evaluate the impacts of very large increases in inflation factors. III. The Use of Inflation Factors HUD subsequently applies the calculated individual area inflation factors to eligible renewal funding for each PHA based on VMS leasing and cost data for the prior calendar year. IV. Geographic Areas and Area Definitions As explained above, inflation factors based on area FMR changes are produced for all FMR areas and applied to eligible renewal funding for each PHA. The tables showing the RFIFs, available electronically from the HUD data information page, list the inflation factors for each FMR area on a state-bystate basis. The inflation factors use the same OMB metropolitan area definitions, as revised by HUD, that are used in the FY 2019 FMRs. PHAs should refer to the Area Definitions Table on the following web page to make certain that they are referencing the correct inflation factors: http:// www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/rfif/ FY2019/FY2019_RFIF_FMR_AREA_ REPORT.pdf. The Area Definitions E:\FR\FM\17APN1.SGM 17APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 74 (Wednesday, April 17, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 16029-16032]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-07682]



[[Page 16029]]

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DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

[Docket No. FR-6155-N-01]


Review of HUD Policy in Opportunity Zones

AGENCY: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and 
Research (PD&R), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

ACTION: Request for information.

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SUMMARY: Consistent with Executive Order 13853, ``Establishing the 
White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council,'' this document 
informs the public that HUD intends to maximize the beneficial impact 
of investment in Opportunity Zones. HUD is reviewing its existing 
policies, practices, planned actions, regulations, and guidance 
regarding HUD-administered programs and laws to identify actions HUD 
can take to encourage beneficial investment, both public and private, 
in urban and economically distressed communities, including qualified 
Opportunity Zones. HUD seeks input and recommendations from the public 
regarding potential agency actions.

DATES: Comment Due Date: June 17, 2019.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties are invited to submit comments regarding 
this request for information. There are two methods for submitting 
public comments. All submissions must refer to the above docket number 
and title.
    1. Submission of Comments by Mail. Comments may be submitted by 
mail to the Public Finance and Regulatory Analysis Division, Office of 
Policy Development and Research, Department of Housing and Urban 
Development, 451 7th Street SW, Room 8216, Washington, DC 20410-0500.
    2. Electronic Submission of Comments. Interested persons may submit 
comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at 
www.regulations.gov. HUD strongly encourages the public to submit ideas 
electronically. Electronic submission of ideas allows the submitter 
maximum time to formulate and present the suggestion, ensures timely 
receipt by HUD, and enables HUD to make the ideas received immediately 
available to the public. Suggestions submitted electronically through 
the www.regulations.gov website can be viewed by interested members of 
the public. Members of the public should follow the instructions 
provided on that site to submit suggestions electronically.
    Note: To receive consideration, ideas must be submitted through one 
of the two methods specified above. Again, all submissions must refer 
to the docket number and title of the request for information.
    No Facsimile Submissions: Facsimile (fax) submissions are not 
acceptable.
    Public review of information received: All information properly 
submitted for consideration by HUD will be available for inspection and 
downloading at www.regulations.gov. Members of the public without ready 
access to the internet may request an appointment to review the 
information submitted by calling the Public Finance and Regulatory 
Analysis Division at 202-402-2967 (this is not a toll-free number). 
Individuals with speech or hearing impairments may access this number 
via TTY by calling the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 (this is 
a toll-free number). An appointment for public inspection and copying 
of the information must be scheduled in advance and will occur between 
8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel Marcin, Economist, Public 
Finance and Regulatory Analysis Division, Office of Policy Development 
and Research, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th 
Street SW, Room 8216, Washington, DC 20410-0500; telephone number 202-
402-2967 (this is not a toll-free number). Persons with hearing or 
speech impairments may access this number through TTY by calling the 
toll-free Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Context: Opportunity Zones and the White House Opportunity and 
Revitalization Council

    The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Pub. L. 115-97) created new tax 
incentives for investments made in Opportunity Zones to spur economic 
development and job creation by encouraging long-term investment in 
low-income communities nationwide. Opportunity Zones are designated 
census tracts that provide incentives for long-term private sector 
investment in economically distressed communities. State executives 
nominated census tracts of communities most in need of private 
investment to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which then certified 
the tracts as Opportunity Zones. The Opportunity Zone designation 
encourages investment in these certified census tracts by granting 
investors extensive Federal tax advantages for using their capital 
gains to finance new projects and enterprises (or substantially improve 
existing projects and enterprises) located within Opportunity Zones.
    Executive Order 13853 created the White House Opportunity and 
Revitalization Council with the HUD Secretary (or the Secretary's 
designee) as the Chair. This Executive Order directs the Council to:
    (a) Assess the actions each Federal agency can take under existing 
authorities to prioritize or focus Federal investments and programs on 
urban and economically distressed communities, including qualified 
opportunity zones;
    (b) Assess the actions each agency can take under existing 
authorities to minimize all regulatory and administrative costs and 
burdens that discourage public and private investment in urban and 
economically distressed communities, including qualified opportunity 
zones;
    (c) Regularly consult with officials from State, local, and tribal 
governments and individuals from the private sector to solicit feedback 
on how best to stimulate the economic development of urban and 
economically distressed areas, including qualified opportunity zones;
    (d) Coordinate Federal interagency efforts to help ensure that 
private and public stakeholders--such as investors; business owners; 
institutions of higher education (including Historically Black Colleges 
and Universities, as defined by 50 U.S.C. 3224(g)(2), and tribally 
controlled colleges and universities, as defined by 25 U.S.C. 
1801(a)(4)); K-12 education providers; early care and education 
providers; human services agencies; State, local, and tribal leaders; 
public housing agencies; non-profit organizations; and economic 
development organizations--can successfully develop strategies for 
economic growth and revitalization;
    (e) Recommend policies that would:
    (i) Reduce and streamline regulatory and administrative burdens, 
including burdens on applicants applying for multiple Federal 
assistance awards;
    (ii) Help community-based applicants, including recipients of 
investments from qualified opportunity funds, identify and apply for 
relevant Federal resources; and
    (iii) Make it easier for recipients to receive and manage multiple 
types of public and private investments, including by aligning certain 
program requirements;
    (f) Evaluate the following:
    (i) Whether and how agencies can prioritize support for urban and 
economically distressed areas, including

[[Page 16030]]

qualified opportunity zones, in their grants, financing, and other 
assistance;
    (ii) Appropriate methods for Federal cooperation with and support 
for States, localities, and tribes that are innovatively and 
strategically facilitating economic growth and inclusion in urban and 
economically distressed communities, including qualified opportunity 
zones, consistent with preserving State, local, and tribal control;
    (iii) Whether and how to develop an integrated web-based tool 
through which entrepreneurs, investors, and other stakeholders can see 
the full range of applicable Federal financing programs and incentives 
available to projects located in urban and economically distressed 
areas, including qualified opportunity zones;
    (iv) Whether and how to consider urban and economically distressed 
areas, including qualified opportunity zones, as possible locations for 
Federal buildings, through consultation with the General Services 
Administration;
    (v) Whether and how Federal technical assistance, planning, 
financing tools, and implementation strategies can be coordinated 
across agencies to assist communities in addressing economic problems, 
engaging in comprehensive planning, and advancing regional 
collaboration; and
    (vi) What data, metrics, and methodologies can be used to measure 
the effectiveness of public and private investments in urban and 
economically distressed communities, including qualified opportunity 
zones.

II. Overview of Opportunity Zones

    There are more than 8,700 Census tracts designated by a Governor or 
other chief administrative official as Opportunity Zones across all 50 
States, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. The 
following are relevant data and characteristics of the Opportunity 
Zones and those who reside within Opportunity Zones:
     Nearly 35 million Americans live in communities designated 
as Opportunity Zones.
     On average, the median family income in an Opportunity 
Zone is 37 percent below the State median.
     More than one-in-five of all Opportunity Zones have a 
poverty rate over 40 percent, compared to just over one-in-eight ``low-
income communities'' (LICs) and one-in-20 Census tracts nationwide.
     71 percent of Opportunity Zones meet the U.S. Treasury 
Department's definition of ``severely distressed.'' \1\
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    \1\ ``Severely distressed'' generally means a poverty rate of 30 
percent or a median family income no greater than 60 percent of the 
area benchmark. See The State of Socioeconomic Need and Community 
Change in Opportunity Zones, Economic Innovation Group (Dec. 2018). 
https://eig.org/opportunityzones/communitychange.
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     Life expectancy is on average three years shorter for 
Opportunity Zone residents than it is nationally.
     Approximately 22 percent of Opportunity Zone adult 
residents have not attained a high school diploma, compared to 13 
percent nationally.

III. HUD-Supported Programs and Initiatives Within Opportunity Zones

    Below is a snapshot of HUD's programs and initiatives within 
Opportunity Zones.\2\ These statistics are being provided in order to 
facilitate the public's thought process--as well as generate ideas and 
answers to the questions asked later in this request for information--
regarding HUD's existing program presence within Opportunity Zones. 
Most numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand. Where percentages of 
the total are given, those percentages exclude data for which location 
is unreliable or misleading.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ These statistics are current as of December 17, 2018.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

General

    [cir] 2,394,000 persons living in HUD-assisted housing within 
Opportunity Zones, representing about 27 percent of residents of HUD-
assisted housing.
    [cir] 14 proposed EnVision Center sites inside or within 1 mile of 
an Opportunity Zone.

Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH)

    [cir] 371,000 public housing units within Opportunity Zones, 
representing about 38 percent of the total.
    [cir] 738,000 persons living in public housing within Opportunity 
Zones, representing about 39 percent of the total.
    [cir] 2,254 public housing developments within Opportunity Zones, 
or about 33 percent of the national total.
    [cir] 465,000 housing choice voucher (HCV) units within Opportunity 
Zones, 22 percent of the total.
    [cir] 992,000 persons with HCVs, or 21 percent of the national 
total, living within Opportunity Zones.
    [cir] 62,000 project-based voucher (PBV) units within Opportunity 
Zones, which is 32 percent of the total.
    [cir] 116,000 persons living in PBV units within Opportunity Zones, 
representing 32 percent of the total.
    [cir] 65 Choice Neighborhood Grants--with a total of approximately 
$571,643,000 in grant funding--from 2010-2016 within Opportunity 
Zones.\3\ These are 68 percent of all Choice Neighborhood Grants and 86 
percent of national Choice Neighborhood Grant spending. 46 of these 
grants were Planning Grants, and the other 19 were Implementation 
Grants.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Grant is counted if the target area contains the center of 
one or more Opportunity Zone Census tracts.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Office of Housing

    [cir] 337,000 project-based rental assistance (PBRA) units within 
Opportunity Zones, or 27 percent of the national total.
    [cir] 548,000 persons living in PBRA units within Opportunity 
Zones, or 27 percent of the total.
    [cir] 2,400 Multi-Family (MF) housing properties with Federal 
Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance within Opportunity 
Zones, representing 21 percent of multifamily housing properties with 
FHA mortgage insurance.
    [cir] $14,755,260,000 in unpaid principal balance for MF properties 
with FHA mortgage insurance within Opportunity Zones, for 17 percent of 
the national total.
    [cir] 617,000 FHA-insured Single-Family properties within 
Opportunity Zones, or 8 percent of the total.
    [cir] $75,353,474,000 in unpaid principal balance for Single-Family 
properties with FHA mortgage insurance within Opportunity Zones, or 6 
percent of all Single-Family unpaid principal balance.
    [cir] 536 healthcare facilities with FHA mortgage insurance in 
Opportunity Zones, representing 12 percent of all such facilities.
    [cir] $4,017,448,000 in unpaid principal balance for healthcare 
facilities with FHA insurance in Opportunity Zones, representing 12 
percent of the total unpaid principal balance on FHA-insured mortgages 
on healthcare facilities.
    [cir] Almost one-third of Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) 
Component 1 conversions fall within Opportunity Zones.

Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD)

    [cir] Over 1,200 cities, urban counties, States, Puerto Rico, and 
U.S. Territories received over $3,000,000,000 in Community Development 
Block Grant (CDBG) funding each year between fiscal years 2014 and 
2019. Since all communities can potentially receive CDBG funding, 
either directly from HUD or through their respective State government, 
funds could be used to

[[Page 16031]]

assist activities and projects in Opportunity Zones nationwide.
    [cir] There are 600 outstanding Section 108 guaranteed loans with 
an outstanding loan balance of $1,250,000,000 for community and 
economic development projects nationwide. Under the Section 108 Loan 
Guarantee Program, CBDG grantees nationwide have approximately $14 
billion in available borrowing capacity that could potentially be 
deployed in Opportunity Zones.
    [cir] Approximately $84,000,000,000 in Community Development Block 
Grant--Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds has been awarded since 2001 to 
help cities, counties, and States recover from Presidentially-declared 
disasters. Nearly half of this amount has been awarded in response to 
disasters occurring between 2015 and 2017. Since CDBG-DR assistance may 
fund a broad range of recovery activities, these funds could be used in 
eligible disaster-impacted Opportunity Zones.
    [cir] 256,000 HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) housing 
projects completed--with a total of approximately $2,853,095,000 in 
grant funds expended--from 1996-2018 within Opportunity Zones.

Office of Field Policy and Management (FPM)

    [cir] There are 186 Opportunity Zones within HUD's 14 Urban Promise 
Zones.
    [cir] An approximate numerical breakdown of Opportunity Zones 
throughout HUD's 10 regions:

Region I: 344
Region II: 683
Region III: 741
Region IV: 2,529
Region V: 1,339
Region VI: 1,043
Region VII: 341
Region VIII: 272
Region IX: 1,194
Region X: 278

IV. Purpose of This Request for Information

    HUD has determined that it should undertake a substantive review of 
existing policies, practices, planned actions, regulations and guidance 
regarding HUD-administered programs to identify actions HUD can take to 
encourage beneficial investment in urban and economically distressed 
communities, including Opportunity Zones, while continuing to fulfill 
its mission to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and 
quality affordable homes for all. In conducting this review, HUD 
believes that it would benefit from the information and perspectives of 
State, local and tribal officials, experts in relevant disciplines, 
affected stakeholders in the private sector, and the public as a whole. 
HUD is, therefore, requesting information to guide and enhance this 
review.

VI. Specific Information Requested

    To assist in HUD's approach to Opportunity Zones, HUD invites ideas 
and information on the following questions:
    (1) How should HUD use its existing authorities to maximize the 
beneficial impact of public and private investments in urban and 
economically distressed communities, including Opportunity Zones? For 
example:
    a. What actions can HUD take under existing authorities to 
prioritize or focus Federal investments and programs on urban and 
economically distressed communities, including Opportunity Zones?
    b. What actions can HUD take under existing authorities to minimize 
all of the regulatory and administrative costs and burdens that 
discourage public and private investment in urban and economically 
distressed communities, including Opportunity Zones?
    c. What tools can HUD provide to make local communities, investors 
and other stakeholders more aware of the full range of applicable 
Federal financing programs and incentives available to projects located 
in urban and economically distressed areas, including Opportunity 
Zones?
    d. What polices could HUD implement that would help community-based 
applicants, including recipients of investments from Qualified 
Opportunity Funds, identify and apply for relevant Federal resources?
    e. What policies could HUD implement that would make it easier for 
recipients to receive and manage multiple types of public and private 
investments, including by aligning certain program requirements?
    (2) HUD is considering creating an information portal on 
Opportunity Zones. What types of information should HUD include in such 
a tool? How can it be made accessible to and most usable by HUD's 
various stakeholders and customers? If the portal includes information 
on Federal financing programs and incentives beyond those offered by 
HUD, what types of information would be most useful to include?
    (3) In what ways could HUD structure preference points for 
Opportunity Zones and incorporate policy objectives in the rating 
factors for applications in discretionary grant competitions to 
increase the incentive to invest in Opportunity Zones? In addition, how 
should HUD prioritize support for urban and economically distressed 
areas, including Opportunity Zones, in its grants, financing, and other 
assistance?
    (4) What types of technical assistance should be offered through 
HUD?
    (5) What role can HUD play in helping to ensure that existing 
residents, businesses, and community organizations in Opportunity Zones 
benefit from the influx of investment and remain the focus of their 
community's growth moving forward?
    (6) How can HUD properly evaluate the impact of Opportunity Zones 
on communities?
    (7) How should HUD interact with other stakeholders to maximize the 
success of the Opportunity Zone incentive? For example:
    a. How should HUD interact with officials from State, local, and 
tribal governments, institutions, local and regional agencies, 
businesses, and individuals from the private sector to most effectively 
encourage beneficial investment in urban and economically distressed 
areas?
    b. How should HUD participate in Federal interagency efforts to 
help ensure that private and public stakeholders can successfully 
develop strategies for economic growth and revitalization in urban and 
economically distressed areas? Stakeholders might include investors; 
business owners; institutions of higher education (including 
Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as defined by 50 U.S.C. 
3224(g)(2), and tribally controlled colleges and universities, as 
defined by 25 U.S.C. 1801(a)(4)); K-12 education providers; early care 
and education providers; human services agencies; State, local, and 
tribal leaders; public housing agencies; non-profit organizations; and 
economic development organizations.
    c. How should Federal technical assistance, planning, financing 
tools, and implementation strategies be coordinated across agencies to 
assist communities in addressing economic problems, engaging in 
comprehensive planning, and advancing regional collaboration?
    (8) How might Qualified Opportunity Fund investments support the 
goal of ending homelessness?
    (9) Are there other aspects of Opportunity Zones that should be 
considered and are not addressed in this request for information?


[[Page 16032]]


    Dated: April 11, 2019.
Todd M. Richardson,
General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research.
[FR Doc. 2019-07682 Filed 4-16-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4210-67-P