When the EHS Expansion and EHS-CCP Round 4 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) was released last month, one of the highlights we noticed is that funding may be prioritized for services in Qualified Opportunity Zones. Here, we provide information about Qualified Opportunity Zones. What are they? And, how do you find them?

First, here is the language from the FOA about the prioritization for Qualified Opportunity Zones.

Having high-quality early care and education opportunities is particularly important, and is often lacking, in economically distressed communities. Therefore, ACF may prioritize funding for qualified applicants who propose services in census tracts designated as Qualified Opportunity Zones.

Per the IRS, a Qualified Opportunity Zone is: “an economically distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.” The IRS also notes that Qualified Opportunity Zones were added to the tax code in December 2017, and the first set of designations was made in April 2018. They are “designed to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities.”

It will be important to identify in your EHS Expansion and EHS-CCP proposal if any of your proposed sites are located in a Qualified Opportunity Zone. If you aren’t sure whether your proposed sites are in a zone, or if you want to search for zones to determine your site placement, you can follow these steps.

1:  Go to the U.S. Department of the Treasury Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) website.

2:  Under “Opportunity Zones,” second bullet, see “For a map of designated QOZs, click here” and you will be directed to the searchable map. There are important notes from CDFI Fund to consider. You must update the “Layers” of the map to ensure it will only highlight designated Qualified Opportunity Zones. Per CDFI Fund:

To view all designated QOZs, click on the “Layers” tab on the menu on the right hand side of the screen. Select “Opportunity Zone Tract” and unselect “2011-2015 LIC Census Tract,” and zoom in to a specific area on the map. Designated QOZs will appear in blue. (Please note that if other layer options are selected, it will change the colors of the tracts.)

3:  Use the search bar in the upper right hand corner of the map to locate specific census tracks or addresses. Searching by a street address will place a pin on the map and allow you to see if it is located in a census tract that is designated as a Qualified Opportunity Zone.

Lastly, if any of your proposed sites are in a Qualified Opportunity Zone, be sure to highlight it in your proposal! It is important that the reviewer can identify this information for when awards are prioritized.

Thank you.

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