HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 03-133
Brian Sullivan
(202) 708-0685 x 7527

For Release
November 20, 2003

Philly food distributor cited as Empowerment Zone success story

PHILADELPHIA - When Richard Singer located his food distribution business on North 5th Street in Philadelphia back in 1984, the neighborhood was marked with abandoned cars, graffiti and urban blight. At the time, Honor Foods, Inc. was the first new business to come into that distressed neighborhood in decades. Today, Singer's company and his 120 employees are among a number of other businesses that have since found a home in Philadelphia's Empowerment Zone.

Honor, and thousands of other small and large businesses located in Pennsylvania's and New Jersey's six federally designated Empowerment Zones and Renewal Communities are eligible to share in $26 billion in tax incentives. The tax incentives that have proven such a stimulus to Singer are among those the Bush Administration is aggressively marketing to thousands of businesses located, or are considering locating, in 80 distressed communities around the nation.

Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Alphonso Jackson today launched a two-day conference in Philadelphia designed to encourage business owners, tax consultants, capital investors, faith-based organizations and other community-based groups to take advantage of these incentives that can significantly cut their tax liability. Jackson and Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street also toured the Honor Foods facility.

"The message is clear - it's good to do business in Pennsylvania's and New Jersey's Empowerment Zones and Renewal Communities," said Jackson. "From the smallest business to the largest firm that locates in these areas, the tax benefits that are now available can make all the difference in terms of expansion and bringing more jobs to neighborhoods that desperately need them."

"The revitalization of our industrial and commercial corridors is integral to the transformation of Philadelphia's neighborhoods," said Street. "The Empowerment Zone and Renewal Community tax incentives are essential tools in making our communities places where people want to live, work, shop, play and learn."

Singer said, "Anything that saves money in our business is wonderful! This community has improved dramatically since we came here 18 years ago and these tax incentives go a long way toward helping us stay profitable."

There are six Empowerment Zones (EZs) and Renewal Communities (RCs) in Pennsylvania and New Jersey: Philadelphia (EZ and RC); Camden, NJ (EZ and RC); Cumberland Co., NJ (EZ); and, Newark, NJ (RC).

Last year, HUD Secretary Mel Martinez announced eight new Empowerment Zones and 40 Renewal Communities as part of HUD's initiative to generate business activity and job growth in these distressed neighborhoods. Businesses that locate or remain in these designated areas are eligible to share in a wide variety of tax incentives - from wage credits, accelerated tax deductions, partial or total capital gains exclusions and increased bond financing to bring jobs and restore economic vitality to these areas.

HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet.


Content Archived: April 22, 2010