Promise Zone Updates

City of Minneapolis and Promise Zone

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June 7, 2018

Minneapolis Promise Zone Workmark

In this edition of Minneapolis Promise Zone Updates:

  • Equitable Development Webinar
  • The Urban Institute Releases Analysis of the Opportunity Zone Designations
  • Draft Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area Plan 
  • FY2018-2019 Environmental Assistance Grants 
  • Could your Company Benefit from a Talented STEM Intern?
  • Advise Metropolitan Council on Livable Communities Act Funding 
  • Vacant Structure Open Houses - June 12, 2018 
  • Minnesota Innovation Loans for Entrepreneurs (MILE)
  • Beyond Backgrounds for Renters and Case Managers
  • Governor's Housing Task Force and Work Group June Meetings 
  • News, Events, and Jobs
  • Promise Zone Preference Points
  • About the Minneapolis Promise Zone

Equitable Development Webinar 

Equitable development is at the heart of Policy Link's, All-In Cities initiative. It is an approach to creating healthy, vibrant communities of opportunity where low-income communities and communities of color shape and benefit from decisions that impact their neighborhoods. This month we are highlighting the work our partners are doing to advance equitable development, as well as sharing an opportunity for you to learn about how to adopt some of these tools in your work.

Equitable Development Webinar: We are continuing our webinar series on policy solutions within the All-In Cities Policy Toolkit with a discussion on “Inclusive Planning: Centering Community Voice in Equitable Development” on Thursday, June 14, 2018, 11:00 a.m. PT / 2:00 p.m. ET. Register here.

The Urban Institute Releases Analysis of the Opportunity Zone Designations 

Did States Maximize their Opportunity Zone Selections? 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act included a new federal incentive—Opportunity Zones—to spur investment in poor and undercapitalized communities. Governors (and the mayor of the District of Columbia) have now selected which among the roughly 56 percent of eligible census tracts in the U.S. should be classified as Opportunity Zones. While many criteria could be used to assess how successfully governors targeted Zones, we offer two for consideration: need and benefit. In this brief we gauge governors’ selections against tract measures of the investment flows they are receiving and the social and economic changes they have already experienced.

Zones investment score dataset (.xlsx download)

Draft Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area Plan

The Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area (MRCCA) is a land corridor along the Mississippi River in the 7-county metro area where there are special land use regulations that guide development activity. The corridor was designated a Critical Area in 1976. Local governments in the corridor, including Minneapolis, must complete a MRCCA plan (a required chapter in the comprehensive plan) that complies with state rules (MR 6106.0010 – 6106.0180). The draft MRCCA plan for the City of Minneapolis is now available for public review and comment.

Draft Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area Plan

To submit comments on the draft MRCCA Plan between now and July 22, 2018, please use the General Comment Form or send an email to

FY2018-2019 Environmental Assistance Grants

Full details on this grant round are spelled out in the request for proposals, especially the focus areas and eligible applicants and projects.

Application deadline: Due no later than June 26, 2018 (2:00 p.m. Central Time)

Total available funding: $493,000; refer to the RFP for details on grant funding for specific projects (minimum/maximum, match).

Who can apply? Minnesota residents, organizations, businesses, institutions, political subdivisions of the state, and tribal governments (Minn. R. 9210.0810, subp. 2.B). Eligibility may be further defined within each preferred project. Multi-organizational collaboration is encouraged.

More Information

Could your Company Benefit from a Talented STEM Intern? 

Receive a 50 percent cash match on your intern's wages up to $2500 through SciTechsperience

SciTechsperience is a free, statewide, state-funded internship program that connects small for-profit Minnesota businesses with talented college STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students. 

Participating companies receive a wage reimbursement of 50 percent of the
intern's wages up  to $2,500.

What's New

  • Companies located anywhere in Minnesota with less than 250 employess worldwide may participate
  • Graduate students are now eligible for the program
  • More than 325 reimbursements are available now on a first-come, first hire basis 

Advise Metropolitan Council on Livable Communities Act Funding 

The Metropolitan Council is looking for individuals with expertise in several areas related to local development to help evaluate applications for grants funded through the Livable Communities program. 

The Council appoints an advisory committee to help review and assess applications for Livable Communities Demonstration Account and Livable Communities Demonstration Account Transit Oriented Development funds, and to recommend projects for funding awards. 

Specifically, four committee spots, representing the following areas, are needed:

  • Local government planning, economic, and community development
  • Site design, with such expertise as architecture and land planning
  • Equitable development practices, particularly community organizations with expertise or missions in planning, economic development, community development, community engagement, and relationships or focus on connecting populations historically under-represented in planning and development efforts

Priority will be given to applications submitted by June 1Visit the Council's website for more information about the committee and to complete an application. 

About Livable Communities Program

The Livable Communities Act (LCA), passed by the Legislature in 1995, funds community investment that revitalizes economies, creates affordable housing, and links different land uses and transportation. Local governments choose to participate and become eligible for grants from the Metropolitan Council. These grants leverage private and other public funding for projects that achieve local and regional Livable Communities goals.

Grants are awarded through four different funding accounts:

  • Livable Communities Demonstration Account supports innovative development and redevelopment that links housing, jobs and services, and demonstrates efficient and cost-effective use of land and infrastructure.
  • Transit-Oriented Development propels development near light rail, commuter rail, and high-frequency bus service.
  • Local Housing Incentives Account produces and preserves affordable housing choices for households with low to moderate incomes.
  • Tax Base Revitalization Account cleans up contaminated sites for redevelopment that creates jobs and/or produces affordable housing. 

The Council will award up to $27 million in grants through the Livable Communities program in 2018.

picture of buy-build-rehab home

Vacant Structure Open Houses - June 12, 2018

Minneapolis Homes is a program of the Residential and Real Estate Development (RRED) work unit of the City of Minneapolis department of Community Planning and Economic Development. The goal of this business unit is to create healthy, mixed income housing markets in the City by developing opportunities for homeownership and responsibly managing land banked property. 

Home buyers and developers, the next round of vacant houses are ready for rehab! Can you see yourself developing a home like the one below to live in as your new home or sell to a homeowner? To find the list of addresses and the schedule of open houses, please click on this REHAB button link. You can learn more about our programs at Make 2018 your year!

Minnesota Innovation Loans for Entrepreneurs (MILE)

The Minnesota Innovation Loans for Entrepreneurs (MILE) program provides interest-free loans to early stage businesses developing or producing high-tech products or services in Minnesota. This program is an initiative of the Minnesota Investment Fund.


MILE seeks to accelerate the commercialization of research, fuel the growth of start-ups and provide quality jobs for the next generation of Minnesotans. MILE loans are targeted for high-tech startups that are at a business stage where they are generally unable to attract sufficient outside investment or traditional bank financing. Highlights about MILE loans:

  • Amounts range from $20,000 to $50,000
  • Interest-free
  • 4-year term
  • No repayments in the first year and graduated payments in subsequent years
  • Require a 1:1 match from another funder
  • Approximately $125,000 may be awarded and up to 6 loans may be made each application period

We are currently accepting applications. Applications for MILE loans are being accepted from June 4 to July 16, 2018. Applications must be received physically or electronically by 4:30 p.m. on July 16, 2018; late applications will not be accepted.

MILE loans can be used for working capital, intellectual property development, proof of concept activities, commercialization planning, prototype design, market feasibility studies and other start-up activities as approved by DEED.

More Information 

Beyond Backgrounds for Renters & Case Managers 

What is Beyond Backgrounds?
Landlords may experience a higher amount of risk when renting to someone that doesn't meet their initial screening criteria. As a result, renters with criminal, credit and rental history barriers are having a difficult time finding a place to live. Beyond Backgrounds was created to help.

When a renter with their case manager applies to participate in the Beyond Backgrounds program, the landlords who rent to them have access to up to $2,000 of financial protection in the following circumstances:

  • Damage to the unit beyond what the security deposit covers.
  • Unpaid rent at the end of the lease term beyond what is covered by the security deposit.
  • Court filing fees if an eviction is pursued beyond what is covered by the security deposit.
  • Other unfortunate circumstances beyond what is covered by the security deposit.

To ensure success, each participating renter receive case management support. Also, many will have housing assistance to help make their housing more affordable. This program exists so both landlords and renters can move beyond the background issues that prevent people from finding stable, safe and affordable housing.

What areas does Beyond Backgrounds cover?
The counties of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Scott and Washington.

Who is eligible?

  • Household lives in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Scott or Washington County.
  • FHPAP Eligible.
  • Have been assessed through Coordinated Entry.
  • Households receiving support services through a community or government organization.
  • Have barriers to accessing rental housing (e.g. Criminal, Credit, Rental History).

How to Apply 

  1. A case manager must watch the Beyond Backgrounds training video.
  2. Fill out the eligibility application.

Questions? Email

    Governor's Housing Task Force and Work Group June Meetings 

    Homeownership Work Group Meeting #6 
    Mon, June 11, 1-4 p.m. 
    411 Cedar St., Saint Paul 

    Task Force Meeting #5 
    Mon, June 25, 12-5 p.m. 
    Wilder Foundation, 451 Lexington Parkway N., Saint Paul 

    Phase 3: Final Report Issued
    The Task Force plans to release its final report to the public by the end of July 2018. 



    Man Up Minneapolis 
    Sat, Jun 9, 4-9 p.m. 
    711 W. Broadway Ave., Minneapolis 

    NEON Small Business Ed. Legal Series: Employment Issues 
    Wed, July 18, 6-7 p.m. 
    Northside Economic Opportunity Network, 1007 W. Broadway Ave., Minneapolis 

    Northside Storyville Community Film Screening + Discussion 
    Thu, June 21, 7-8:30 p.m. 
    Capri Theater, 2027 W. Broadway Ave., Minneapolis 

    Actualizing Equity: Who Speaks for the Neighborhood? 
    Mon, July 9, 12-1:30 p.m. 
    Hope Community , 611 E Franklin Ave., Minneapolis 


    Community Research Program Director 
    Center for Urban and Regional Affairs 
    More Information 

    Chief Resilience Officer 
    City of Minneapolis 
    More Information  

    Institutional Resources Manager 
    Northside Achievement Zone 
    More Information 

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    Promise Zone Preference Points

    If a discretionary funding opportunity indicates Promise Zone (PZ) preference points are available, please visit for additional information on forms and contacts to request preference point certification from the City of Minneapolis Promise Zone. Please submit your preference point request at least two weeks prior to the application deadline for Promise Zone certification approval consideration. 

    If a funding opportunity does not indicate PZ preference points, you are still encouraged to contact the Promise Zone Manager, Julianne Leerssen (612-225-7721), about potential partnership opportunities to strengthen your application.

    About the Minneapolis Promise Zone

    Promise Zones are federally designated, high poverty communities where the federal government partners with local leaders to increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, and leverage private investment. The Minneapolis Promise Zone (MPZ) plan is a comprehensive, community-driven revitalization strategy that builds on and aligns numerous initiatives to address the persistent unemployment, crime, housing blight, and poor educational outcomes that affect that area.

    Contact information: Juli Leerssen, (612) 225-7721

    For more information, please visit

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    For reasonable accommodations, alternative formats, or to add content please contact Jennifer Melin at or by phone: 612-597-3406. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000. 

    TTY users can call 612-673-2157 or 612-673-2626.

    Para asistencia 612-673-2700, Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-673-2800, Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.

    "Welcome to North Minneapolis" mural by youth artists from Juxtaposition Arts and TATS CRU