What is an Empowerment Zone?
An Empowerment Zone is a federally recognized distressed area in need of sustainable community development.
El Paso Empowerment Zone
On January 13, 1999, El Paso was one of 15 cities nationwide, and the only city in Texas, to receive an Empowerment Zone (EZ) designation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under Round II of the federal EZ Program.
Encompassing the central core of the city and a portion of the I-10/Zaragoza and Ysleta areas on the east side of town, the zone contains 12 census tracts with a 1990 Census population of 51,444 (90 less than the maximum eligible under EZ criteria) and a total area of 10.8 square miles. Statistically, the residents of the El Paso EZ are among the City’s poorest.
Empowerment Zone Map
Do you live or work in the Empowerment Zone?
The Vision for the Future
The residents of the Empowerment Zone are united behind a vision that makes quality of life and economic self-sufficiency the rewards realized from hard work, education, family strength, and participation in a global economy.
During the grant period from 1999 to 2010, federal grant funding was used to provide programming in conjunction with economic development activities consistent with the El Paso EZ’s strategic plan.
Programs were funded to increase business opportunities by way of assisting businesses establish or expand within the Zone; and, increase job opportunities for the EZ residents.
One program continues to be sustainable beyond the grant period. Federal dollars initiated the EZ Revolving Loan Fund to issue small business loans with commitment to HUD that repayments be used to fund new loans. Therefore, EZ borrowers’ repayments continue the opportunity for new loans to be issued to businesses located within the El Paso Empowerment Zone.
Ongoing Program: El Paso Empowerment Zone Revolving Loan Fund
Ongoing Incentives: IRS Tax Incentives
For more information and/or to be placed on the EZ mailing list, contact:
Empowerment Zone Coordinator
City of El Paso – Community and Human Development Department