Distressed Cities and Persistent Poverty Technical Assistance Program
Municipality of Coamo – Recipient of DCTA
Municipality of Coamo – Recipient of DCTA

Download the DCTA Program Info Sheet (English | Español)


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The Distressed Cities and Persistent Poverty Technical Assistance (DCTA) program is designed to build capacity of local governments experiencing economic distress and assist local governments and their nonprofit partners in alleviating persistent poverty in specific areas (census tracts). Through DCTA, HUD provides technical assistance (TA) directly to entities serving smaller communities with populations under 50,000.

DCTA considers good fiscal health, strong financial performance, and effective financial management practices to be the foundation for successful implementation of projects and progression towards goals. Therefore, these are central components of the TA offered through this program.

Other possible areas of TA under the DCTA program include governance and management, leadership development, data and research, building partnerships, community engagement, strategic planning, plan implementation, and program evaluation. This list is not exhaustive. Please email distressedcities@hud.gov if you need TA in another area and are unsure if it fits within the scope of the DCTA program.

Most DCTA recipients work on building capacity in the areas listed above by identifying a priority challenge or opportunity they would like to make progress on. See examples below.

Example Table

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Challenge or Opportunity

Identified by recipient (local government)


 TA Provider assesses capacity in specific areas based on the identified challenge or opportunity

TA Activities

Tailored capacity building support is provided to pursue the opportunity or address the challenge

Desired Outcome

A goal the recipient is working towards with the TA

Opportunity: state CDBG-DR funds will be made available through a competitive process

  • Fiscal health
  • Financial management practices
  • Community background
  • Support in remedying recent adverse financial audit findings.
  • Training in grant management.
  • Support in reviewing funding opportunities and drafting a competitive application.

Local government receives CDBG-DR funds for identified project.

Challenge: chronic disinvestment in downtown 

  • Existing partnerships
  • Community assets
  • Demographics
  • Planning documents
  • Economic development history


  • Assist in development of local program to support small business owners.
  • Provide guidance on strategy for attracting larger employers.

Establish a coalition of local businesses and organizations invested in improving downtown.

Secure funding for main street store façade restoration.


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Category 1: Economically Distressed

Units of general local government (UGLGs or local governments) serving populations under 50,000 that are economically distressed are eligible to receive capacity building technical assistance through HUD’s Distressed Cities and Persistent Poverty Technical Assistance (DCTA) Program.

  • Economically Distressed: Local governments with an average unemployment rate of 9 percent or more over the past three years using American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates; a poverty rate of 20 percent or more among individuals not enrolled in higher education as of the most recent ACS 5-year estimates, OR a population decline of 5 percent or more between the 2010 Decennial Census and most recent ACS 5-Year estimates.

Category 2: Experiencing Persistent Poverty

Units of general local government (UGLGs or local governments) serving populations under 50,000 with one or more census tracts experiencing persistent poverty are eligible to receive capacity building technical assistance through HUD’s Distressed Cities and Persistent Poverty Technical Assistance (DCTA) Program.

  • Persistent Poverty: A census tract with a poverty rate of 20 percent or higher over the past 30 years.

**Please note Categories 1 and 2 are not mutually exclusive. **

Search for your local government in the spreadsheet below to see if you are eligible. If you believe your local government is eligible but is not noted as such in this spreadsheet, please contact distressedcities@hud.gov.

For information on the methodology used to create this eligibility spreadsheet, please see FAQs 1-4.


Request Technical Assistance

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Submit your request for technical assistance via this online form. If you experience difficulties accessing and completing this form, please email distressedcities@hud.gov.

The DCTA program operates on a demand-response system, meaning there is no deadline for requesting technical assistance through this program. However, requesting assistance early is highly encouraged to better ensure HUD will be able to approve your request. This program has limited capacity and may not be able to approve all requests.

Beginning in Fall of 2021, local governments will have the opportunity to submit their technical assistance request in partnership with other local government(s) or nonprofit organization(s). The local government submitting the request will be the lead entity for the technical assistance engagement. However, other local government(s) or nonprofit organization(s) may also receive direct technical assistance to support and complement the work with the lead local government. If you are unsure if this approach is appropriate for your local government and community needs, please email distressedcities@hud.gov. If this approach fits your needs and circumstances, please note this in your request. You will be prompted to provide the name of the other local government(s) nonprofit organization(s) and your primary points of contact at these entities.


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Email distressedcities@hud.gov



Content current as of November 1, 2022

General Information
What is technical assistance (TA)?

Guidance which enables recipients to overcome a lack of specific skills or knowledge and, by doing so, become more successful in meeting the needs of their communities. TA is the transfer of skills and knowledge to entities that may need, but do not possess, such skills and knowledge.

Request TA Here


DCTA Resources

Current recipients of DCTA and others looking for resources for economically distressed communities, visit the DCTA HUD Exchange.


Sampling of Current Recipients
  • City of Banning, California
  • Municipality of Barranquitas, Puerto Rico
  • City Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
  • City of Blythe, California
  • City of Clearlake, California
  • Municipality of Coamo, Puerto Rico
  • Municipality of Comerio, Puerto Rico
  • City of Eloy, Arizona
  • City of Fairfield, Alabama
  • City of Hannibal, Missouri
  • Muscogee Nation, Oklahoma
  • Municipality of Villalba, Puerto Rico
  • City of West Memphis, Arkansas
  • Municipality of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico
  • City of York, Alabama


Examples of Units of General Local Governments

  • Tribes
  • Villages
  • Towns
  • Cities
  • Counties
  • Municipalities


Partner nonprofit organizations must be established 501(c)3 organizations with a history of working to alleviate poverty in your jurisdiction.