“Promise Zones” are to be announced by President Barack Obama on Thursday. Some places such as Detroit and Chicago which many persons would expected to be targeted in the program are not to be named, however. According to the Detroit News and a host of other media sources, there will be five “Promise Zones” to initiate the program. Those locations are the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and Southeastern Kentucky.
The initiative was previously announced during President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address and is being enacted a year later. The program is reportedly an effort which will partner with local communities and businesses to create jobs, increase economic security, expand access to educational opportunities and quality, affordable housing and improve public safety. Narrowing the gap between impoverished cities and cities that are doing well, economically, is the goal.
Obama said last month that he believed communities like Pittsburgh and Chicago had revamped themselves. Some would strongly argue, however, that those cities have a long way to go and need assistance in one form or another to become as livable as the citizenry of the cities would like their cities to be.
He claimed that this “Promise Zone” is not a handout, but it is designed to be a hand up. Those who keep an eye on the government's new methods of spending money are curious to see how much money this latest program is going to cost the government in spite of the president using a new term, “hand up.” The Obama administration claims that the locations selected for the “Promise Zones” will not actually receive direct funds, but will benefit from technical assistance, federal staff support, and more extensive preference points and access to other federal grant programs – which, of course, are all costs to the federal budget.
In the next four years, the Obama administration is to name 20 more “Promise Zones.”