Round II EZ/EC SSBG Grants for Empowerment Zones

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Preliminary Guidelines

  1. Background

    This document includes general guidance about allowed uses of any Round II EZ/EC SSBG funds that may be made available for Round II Empowerment Zones (EZs). It is based on the assumption that any Round II EZ/EC SSBG funding will be subject to the same statutory restrictions as the Round I EZ/EC SSBG grants. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will issue further guidance regarding any Round II EZ/EC SSBG funds soon after it is authorized to award the funds.
  2. Awards to States
    1. HHS will award Round II EZ/EC SSBG grants to each State that nominated a designated Round II EZ. HHS will award the funds for each Round II EZ to the State agency that typically receives Social Services Block Grants, unless the EZ Lead Entity and its State request HHS to award them to a different agency.
    2. The HHS Terms and Conditions of the Round II EZ/EC SSBG grants will direct the recipient State agency to provide the funds to the appropriate Round II EZ Lead Entity(ies) for activities specified in the EZ�s strategic plan and benchmark document / implementation plan. It is expected that the EZs will revise their strategic plans and benchmark documents / implementation plans from time to time.
  3. Allowed Uses of Round II EZ/EC SSBG Funds
    1. The Round II EZs may use Round II EZ/EC SSBG funds for a wide variety of programs, services and activities directed at revitalizing distressed communities and promoting economic independence for residents. Allowed programs, services and activities include, but are not limited to:
      • community and economic development programs and efforts to create employment opportunities;
      • job training and job readiness projects;
      • health programs such as public health education, primary health care, emergency medical services, alcohol and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs, and mental health services;
      • human development services such as child, youth and family development programs, services for the elderly, and child care services;
      • education projects such as after-school activities, adult learning classes, and school-to-work projects;
      • transportation services;
      • environmental clean up programs;
      • policing and criminal justice projects such as community policing efforts and youth gang prevention programs;
      • housing programs;
      • projects providing training and technical assistance to the EZ Lead Entity, its board and committee members, and other organizations; and
      • projects to finance community-focused financial institutions for enhancing the availability of credit such as loan funds, revolving loan funds, and micro-enterprise loan funds as well as other activities for easing financial barriers faced by social services entities, housing organizations and other organizations serving EZ residents.
    2. Round II EZs may use the Round II EZ/EC SSBG funds for projects supported in part with other federal, state, local or private funds, and they may allocate a portion of the funds to the State grantee agency for its administrative and grant oversight costs. Round II EZs may not use the funds as the source of local matching funds required for other federal grants.
    3. Round II EZs must ensure that each proposed use of Round II EZ/EC SSBG funds is: directed at one or more or the EZ/EC SSBG statutory goals; included in the strategic plan; structured to benefit EZ residents; and in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations.
    4. EZ/EC SSBG Statutory Goals: The statutory goals for uses of EZ/EC SSBG funds are as follows:
      1. Achieving and maintaining economic self-support for residents, to help them develop and retain the ability to support themselves and their families economically;
      2. Achieving and maintaining self-sufficiency for residents, to enable them to become and remain able to care for themselves in daily activities and in the long-term; and
      3. Preventing neglect and abuse and preserving families, to protect children and adults, who are unable to protect themselves from neglect, abuse or exploitation, and to preserve, rehabilitate or reunite families living in the designated neighborhoods.
    5. Strategic Plan: All programs, services and activities financed in whole or in part with Round II EZ/EC SSBG funds must be included in the strategic plan and benchmark document / implementation plan. Each project description must indicate the EZ/EC SSBG statutory goal it is attempting to achieve and how it will benefit EZ residents.
    6. Resident Benefit: All programs, services and activities financed in whole or in part with Round II EZ/EC SSBG funds must be structured to benefit EZ residents primarily; the programs, services and activities may also benefit nonresidents.
    7. EZ/EC SSBG Statutory Program Options: To the extent consistent with the local strategic vision, localities may use Round II EZ/EC SSBG funds to finance programs, services and activities for addressing any of the following broad statute-based "program options." EZs that use the funds for any of the program options will have more flexibility in uses of funds. [See paragraph (h) below.] The EZs are not required to use the funds for the program options, and may use Round II EZ/EC SSBG funds to finance programs, services and activities addressing other issues. The program options are as follows:
      1. To provide residential or nonresidential drug and alcohol prevention and treatment programs that offer comprehensive services for residents, particularly for pregnant women and mothers and their children;
      2. To support:
        1. Training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged adults and youths in construction, rehabilitation, or improvement of affordable housing, public infrastructure, and community facilities; and
        2. Nonprofit organizations such as community and junior colleges providing short-term training courses for disadvantaged adults and youths about entrepreneurism and self-employment, and other types of training that will promote individual self-sufficiency and the interests of the community.
      3. To support projects designed to promote and protect the interests of children and families outside of school hours, including keeping schools open during evenings and weekends for mentoring and study.
      4. To support:
        1. Services designed to promote community and economic development and job support services such as skills training, job counseling, transportation services, housing counseling, financial management, and business counseling;
        2. Emergency and transitional housing and shelters for families and individuals; or
        3. Programs that promote home ownership, education, and other routes to economic independence for families and individuals.
    8. To the extent a program, service or activity in the strategic plan and benchmark document / implementation plan is a statutory program option listed in paragraph (g) above, the EZ may use the Round II EZ/EC SSBG funds to implement that activity including to:
      1. purchase or improve land or facilities;
      2. make cash payments to individuals for subsistence or room and board;
      3. make wage payments to individuals as a social service;
      4. make cash payments for medical care; and
      5. provide social services to institutionalized persons.
    9. To the extent a program, service or activity in the strategic plan and benchmark document / implementation plan is not a statutory program option listed in paragraph (g) above, the EZ may use Round II EZ/EC SSBG funds for the following purposes as a component of that activity only after receiving approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services :
      1. purchase or improve land or facilities;
      2. make cash payments to individuals for subsistence or room and board;
      3. make wage payments to individuals as a social service;
      4. make cash payments for medical care; or
      5. provide social services to institutionalized persons.
    10. To the extent a program, service or activity in the strategic plan and benchmark document / implementation plan is not one of the program options listed in paragraph (g) above, the plan must include a statement explaining why the locality chose that project.

 
Content Archived: July 18, 2012