Diaz-Balart Successfully Advocates for SWFL Regional Planning Council’s Promise Zone Designation
WASHINGTON - Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations (FL-25), released the following statement after the White House announced the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council was awarded the rural Promise Zone designation. As Chairman, Diaz-Balart advocated for SWFRPC’s bid to be designated as a Promise Zone, and wrote a letter to the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Agriculture in support of the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council's application. Diaz-Balart also spoke with HUD Secretary Castro to discuss the group’s bid.
"I am pleased the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council was awarded this designation. Southwest Florida's low cost of living and young population provide opportunities for a growing economy, and the Promise Zone designation helps to bolster it. These communities have all the right factors - a strong agricultural industry, the geographic location for tourism, and ideal economic conditions that can attract and grow businesses. With the appropriate guidance from a federal liaison, these factors can be utilized to add to the region's continued growth, while making a positive impact on the economic situation of our neighbors in need. I am proud to have supported this initiative and I look forward to partnering with local leaders to ensure the region competes for federal funding opportunities that can improve and revitalize our community and those who need it most."
The Promise Zone is a joint effort of the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Agriculture. In this effort, grantees are assigned a federal liaison to help navigate federal programs, given preferential consideration for certain federal grant programs, and receive technical assistance from numerous federal agencies. In addition, they will also receive five AmeriCorps volunteers, who assist with programming in critical need communities.
After speaking with HUD Secretary Castro, Chairman Diaz-Balart wrote a letter to HUD and the USDA in February 2016 in support of the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council's bid to be designated as a Promise Zone.