The Westside Promise Zone (WPZ) is a 10-year federal designation authorized by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Atlanta is one of 22 Promise Zones set up across the nation which are each largely characterized by high poverty and unemployment rates. The City’s WPZ is comprised of five neighborhoods including Ashview Heights, Atlanta University Center, Castleberry Hill, Vine City and English Avenue. Through WPZ the City seeks to better alignment across initiatives led by community-based organizations which impact growth opportunities in the community. Through Promise, national, local and philanthropic stakeholders, and community members are encouraged to develop partnerships, which address social and economic barriers within the assigned communities.
OHCD’s Neighborhood Revitalization Division will administer the program through 2026 with the aim of 1) convening stakeholders to evaluate WPZ priorities and goals; 2) assess the human and financial capacity of partners and establish support using WPZ resource development opportunities; and 3) champion the success of neighborhood transformation achieved. Program benefits include opportunities for eligible applicants to receive competitive preference points on specified federal grant opportunities. The City also deploys five AmeriCorps Vista members to assist with community capacity building strategies.
In June 2016, Atlanta received a third round Promise Zone designation to promote revitalization efforts in a cluster of Westside neighborhood. Thus, Westside Promise Zone (WPZ), is comprised of five neighborhoods near downtown Atlanta, which includes Ashview Heights, Atlanta University Center, Castleberry Hill, Vine City and English Avenue . Historically, the area faces a declining population (16,430 as of 2016), disproportionate rates of poverty (49.88%) coupled with unemployment (19.14%), and crime rate that is doubled in comparison to citywide statistics.