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FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Announces New Measures to Promote Equitable Community Development [press release]

Today, the Biden-Harris administration is publicly releasing a new policy memorandum pursuant to a key provision in President Biden’s Executive Order on Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through The Federal Government (Executive Order 14091), which  directs agencies to undertake efforts, consistent with applicable law, to strengthen urban equitable development policies and practices such as advancing community wealth building projects; preventing physical and economic displacement as the result of federal investments; facilitating equitable flows of private capital, including to underserved communities; and incorporating outcome-based metrics focused on urban equitable development in the design and deployment of federal programs and policies. This effort is complementary to the Administration’s efforts to equitably lift up rural and Tribal communities across the nation, including through historic investments and expanded access to federal resources.

The memorandum being publicly released today outlines principles to guide agencies on actions agencies can take to advance urban equitable development and can also be used by the private sector, non-profits and philanthropy, and state and local governments to guide their investments and policies to:

-- Expand access to resources for underserved communities. Strategically allocate public funding to address longstanding inequitable resource distributions, encourage equitable private sector investment, and support local organizations’ capacity to receive and steward public and private resources for community development and aligned services.
-- Build community wealth. Prioritize development that generates and retains wealth in a community by investing in the needs of both current and future residents, businesses, and institutions; mitigating displacement pressures; and supporting the long-term economic mobility of people and vitality of places.
-- Invest in a community’s strengths. Elevate a community’s assets, culture, and history as central to a comprehensive economic development strategy, invest in opportunities to support local capacity and civic infrastructure, and build on strengths.
-- Empower community voice and vision. Center community engagement, input, and goals throughout the phases of program or project design, delivery, and evaluation; ensure the inclusion of underserved community members in engagement efforts; and intentionally work to build trust among diverse stakeholders.
-- Respond to multiple areas of community need. Ensure federal investments, including outreach, engagement, and capacity-building efforts, are coordinated across agencies to holistically advance equity and address concurrent barriers to economic mobility and opportunity.    
-- Measure and expand upon what works. Establish clear outcomes, metrics, and evaluation criteria, derived with input from local stakeholders, to track community goals, adjust investment strategies, build evidence for both the short- and long-term impacts of equitable development, and scale successful pilots and programs.

2) Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Advancing Equitable Community and Economic Development in American Cities and Urban Communities -- Domestic Policy Council (5.26.23)
Urban community and economic development projects—such as investments in housing, small businesses, climate and disaster resilience, and transportation infrastructure—have great potential to build community wealth and strong local economies, redress racial and ethnic discrimination and inequities, and support long-time residents and businesses. But federal investments and subsidies in underserved urban communities have historically fallen short of achieving these goals. In many cases, areas of persistent poverty have lacked economic mobility and inter-generational wealth accumulation for decades, compounded by ongoing private sector disinvestment and unfair access to capital. When private sector investment does occur, it too often creates displacement pressures that price existing residents out of the neighborhoods they call home, particularly in cities and regions where affordable housing production and preservation does not keep pace with demand. And at the local government level, communities continue to limit opportunity through exclusionary zoning and development practices. Given these enduring challenges, it is critical to ensure that the benefits of federally-funded community and economic development projects in urban areas are equitably distributed—particularly now, as the Biden-Harris Administration provides unprecedented resources to communities through the American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act, Inflation Reduction Act, and annual appropriations.  

The Biden-Harris Administration has worked to embed equity across federal programs and policy, beginning with Executive Order 13985 signed on January 20, 2021, and prioritize investment in underserved communities in partnership with state and local governments and the private sector. To build on these efforts, President Biden issued Executive Order 14091 on February 16, 2023 (Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government), which directs agencies to strengthen urban equitable development policies and practices, to the extent consistent with applicable law, by improving community engagement, curbing the negative consequences of investment, incentivizing the public good, and lowering the cost of entry into previously underserved markets. This includes supporting local economies through investments in civic infrastructure, small businesses, climate and disaster resilience, transportation infrastructure, and housing; creating local, livable-wage jobs and economic opportunity; mitigating economic displacement as a result of investment in infrastructure and community development; facilitating flows of private capital to underserved communities; and incorporating outcome-based metrics focused on equitable development in the design and deployment of federal programs and policies.   

To support these goals, the President directed the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy to issue a policy memorandum outlining actions federal agencies can take to advance urban equitable development, so that their processes, policies, and programs better meet the needs of all communities and community members, consistent with Executive Order 14091, with a particular focus on underserved communities and populations. . . .
DPC memo: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Guidance-for-Federal-Departments-and-Agencies-on-Advancing-Equitable-Community-and-Economic-Development-in-American-Cities-and-U.pdf [10 pages]

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