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Meeting Community Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Successes in the Promise Zones Webinar Series

Dear HUD Community Partner,

HUD is co-hosting a free webinar series with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development (USDA-RD) and the National Coalition of Promise Zones on March 2, 16, and 30, 2021.

Promise Zones are high poverty communities where the federal government partners with local leaders to increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, leverage private investment, reduce violent crime, enhance public health, and address other priorities identified by the community.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic tragically affected our nation, which has since resulted in 500,000 deaths, 28.1 million total cases, and a disastrous impact upon small businesses and many sectors of employment. Like many communities, Promise Zones had to pivot their strategies and respond to the immediate needs affecting their residents. This webinar series will highlight these efforts, especially as it relates to COVID-19 testing, responding to food shortages and shelter response, promoting job opportunities and small business support, and solving the digital divide – all of which have been exacerbated by the closures of schools and many work-from-home requirements by employers.

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Webinar #1: COVID-19 Testing, Food, and Shelter Response

March 2, 2021, 3:00 – 4:00 PM EST

Featured panelists and brief highlight:

  • Choctaw Nation Promise Zone (OK): Established drive up COVID-19 testing services for the public
  • Evansville Promise Zone (IN): Utilized newly launched Promise Zone platform/app to coordinate community resources such as openings at homeless shelters, food banks, and other vital resources to those in need, and operated the Evansville Promise Zone Express for transporting the Promise Zone’s most vulnerable people to access food
  • Pride of the Great Plains – Nations (ND): Saw success in securing relief funding by building on the existing ‘no kid hungry’ program and opened two soup kitchens
  • Sacramento Promise Zone (CA): Supported coordination of food access, homelessness efforts, economic development, and online education efforts

Webinar #2: Promoting COVID-19 Business Relief and Job Opportunities

March 16, 2021, 3:00 – 4:00 PM EDT

Featured panelists and brief highlight:

  • South Carolina – Low Country Promise Zone (SC): Worked with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Small Business Development Center to produce relief resource webinars
  • St. Louis Promise Zone (MO): Operated a small business resource hotline and disseminated vital relief resources for those people and businesses most challenged by the pandemic
  • IndyEast Promise Zone (IN): Disseminated information on public-private partnership and SBA disaster loans for Promise Zone businesses
  • San Antonio Eastside Promise Zone (TX): Implemented job support and training for recently unemployed

Webinar #3: Virtual Engagements and Responding to the Digital Divide

March 30, 2021, 3:00 – 4:00 PM EDT

Featured panelists and brief highlight:

  • San Diego Promise Zone (CA): Connected community members and partners to resources through virtual meetings and information distribution, worked with the City of San Diego and local philanthropy to plan for the immediate and long-term economic recovery, and began shifting priorities of working groups to meet the challenges of right now and the near future
  • North Hartford Promise Zone (CT): Adapted to provide access to programs and services during COVID
  • Kentucky Highlands Promise Zone (KY): Supported the deployment of a statewide middle mile, encouraged local government to create Fiber Boards, and have increased awareness of the benefits of education, jobs, telehealth, and aging in place
Register for the Webinars

You must register for each webinar separately. Once you receive your registration confirmation, please use the email’s confirmation ID and conference line to access the webinar.

Please note, attendees must sign into the registration link and ID and call in to hear the audio.

We look forward to your participation!

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