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Report Assesses Equity Outcomes for the Opportunity Zone Program

Critics have raised doubts and concerns about the potential misuse of the federal Opportunity Zone program since it was approved in 2017, but a new report finds some evidence that the program is working toward its promoted intention.
June 22, 2020, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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A new report by Brett Theodos, Eric Hangen, Jorge González, and Brady Meixell "offers an early, qualitative assessment of how well OZs have channeled capital into projects aligned with equitable development goals."

In all, the report "An Early Assessment of Opportunity Zones for Equitable Development Projects" offers nine observations on the use of the Opportunity Zone Program since it was passed into law by the GOP-led Congress in 2017. Those nine observations provide specific information about the kinds of actors and the development ecosystems accessing Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOFs), some of the limitations about the use of QOFs so far, and a look forward to challenges that will arise when the program reaches benchmarks established by the law. 

The Urban Institute report was funded with a grant from JPMorgan Chase.

Planetizen's archive has more background on the Opportunity Zone program, including news about program funding being offered to wealthy developers in already affluent neighborhoods.

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Published on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 in Urban Institute
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