|HUD No. 20-150
HUD Public Affairs
September 18, 2020
HUD SECRETARY BEN CARSON AND SENATOR DAVID PERDUE VISIT OPPORTUNITY ZONE IN ATLANTA
ATLANTA, GA - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Senator David Perdue (R-GA) traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to visit the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, located in an Atlanta Opportunity Zone, and held a roundtable discussion with HBCU and business leaders on Georgia’s 260 federal Opportunity Zones.
“There are 26 Opportunity Zones right here in Atlanta, home to more than 85,000 people,” said Secretary Ben Carson. “Organizations like the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has been one of the driving forces for future Black leaders to help break the poverty cycle. From day one of his Administration President Trump promised to be a champion for our forgotten men and women of America, and I am proud to report that promise is being kept.”
“Working with President Trump, we created federal Opportunity Zones to drive private investment into underserved communities,” said Senator Perdue. “Our goal was to revitalize distressed areas by creating financial incentives and allowing the free-enterprise system to work. These efforts are making a real difference in our state. Georgia’s 260 Opportunity Zones have attracted new investment, created quality jobs, and lifted people from poverty. The Russell Center, located in the heart of an Opportunity Zone, has proven to be a tremendous resource for Black entrepreneurs, and I share their commitment to helping all Georgians succeed.”
The Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship describes itself as “part incubator, part accelerator, part innovation lab and even part museum” that offers “access to place and space, resources, networks, mentorship, technical assistance and education,” for African American entrepreneurs. In 2019, EDA awarded the RCIE a $1.2 million grant to expand, building on an earlier EDA grant that helped convert a former 43,000-square-foot corporate headquarters into a space for 100 emerging entrepreneurial companies. RCIE will feature programming that pays homage to the legacy of Herman Russell, while promoting a citywide and national dialogue around innovation, start-ups and venture capital. In other words, RCIE is a high-energy, inclusive community with lab-to-market resources for emerging industries that will drive real diversity, inspiration and collaboration among Atlanta’s thought leaders.
The White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) last month delivered a Progress Report on President Trump’s Opportunity Zones initiative to White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Chairman Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The CEA estimates that Opportunity Zones have already generated approximately half a million jobs, attracted $75 billion in capital investments, and are on track to reduce the poverty rate in Opportunity Zones by 11 percent – lifting 1,000,000 people out of poverty.
President Trump signed the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, creating Opportunity Zones to stimulate long-term investments in low-income communities. Opportunity Zones offer capital gains tax relief to those who invest in these distressed areas. This initiative is anticipated to spur $100 billion in private capital investment in Opportunity Zones. Incentivizing investment in low-income communities fosters economic revitalization, job creation, and promotes sustainable economic growth across the nation, especially in communities HUD serves. Read more about Opportunity Zones.
Opportunity Zones are a powerful vehicle for bringing economic growth and job creation to the American communities that need it the most. On average, the median family income in an Opportunity Zone is 37 percent below its respective state median. Overall, more than 8,700 communities in all 50 States, Washington D.C., and five U.S. territories have been designated as Opportunity Zones. Nearly 35 million Americans live in communities designated as Opportunity Zones.