Beth Van Duyne: HUD’s Role in Opportunity Zones

Beth Van Duyne

What can the public sector do to magnify the impact of private investment in Opportunity Zones? And specifically, what policy levers is the Department of Housing and Urban Development able to pull?

Beth Van Duyne is a former mayor of Irving, TX and currently serves as the regional administrator of HUD Region VI, which encompasses Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Click the play button below to listen to my conversation with RA Beth Van Duyne.

Episode Highlights

  • What HUD does, and how its mission overlaps with the intent of the Opportunity Zones program.
  • Beth’s initial skepticism of HUD, coming from her role as a mayor.
  • How HUD’s mission has changed under Secretary Carson’s administration.
  • HUD’s role in the federal Opportunity Zones program and why educating community stakeholders is key to its success.
  • The policy levers that HUD can pull to magnify the impact of private capital flowing into opportunity zones.
  • How the Opportunity Zones program can catalyze investment in affordable housing.
  • HUD’s request for information that was issued in April.
  • The biggest challenges that Beth has faced so far in her role as regional administrator of HUD Region VI.

Featured on This Episode

About the Opportunity Zones Podcast

Hosted by OpportunityDb.com founder Jimmy Atkinson, the Opportunity Zones Podcast features guest interviews from fund managers, advisors, policymakers, tax professionals, and other foremost experts in opportunity zones.

Show Transcript

Jimmy: Welcome to the Opportunity Zones Podcast. I’m your host Jimmy Atkinson. In addition to the need for private capital that the Opportunity Zones tax policy intends to fill, many underserved communities still face a need for public sector support and regulatory streamlining. To this end, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is investigating what they can do to further magnify the impact of investment in Opportunity Zones. Here to speak with me today about HUD’s role in the Opportunity Zone Initiative is Beth Van Duyne. Beth was formerly the mayor of Irving, Texas, and she currently serves as the HUD administrator for Region VI, which covers New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. And I’m coming to you today from the HUD Region VI office in downtown Fort Worth. Beth, thank you for coming on the program today.

Beth: Thank you very much for having me.

Jimmy: Absolutely.

Beth: I’m excited to talk about this.

Jimmy: As am I. So, it seems to me that the intent of the Opportunities Zones Policy has a lot of overlap with HUD’s mission. And I wanna focus our conversation on that, of course, but first, let’s start with the basics. Can you tell me what HUD is and what it does exactly?

Beth: Well, I can tell you HUD… You know, I ask this question a lot, and it’s a little confusing but, you know, HUD historically has been seen as the department that provides housing, and it’s so much more than that. We provide incentives for private investment to provide housing, but it’s also community development. So, we work with school districts. We work with cities. We work with businesses. We work on economic development opportunities. Obviously, housing is a component, but there’s a number of different missions that Secretary Carson has taken on to encompass so much more than just bricks and mortar. It’s really community building.

Jimmy: Because I wanna talk to you about some things Dr. Carson has done in his term here. But first I wanna get a little bit more about your background now. So, prior to joining HUD, you were the mayor of Irving, Texas. Can you tell me the story about how you became Irving’s mayor and how you got to where you are today?

Beth: Well, I was on the City Council for six years and then I was mayor for six years. I just had a passion. I was a homeowner, I was a mom and I just had a passion for working within my city and I saw a need of really strong representatives and I threw my hat in the ring. As mayor, we had a very diverse city. We’re one of the largest cities in the country. We’re one of the top hundred cities in the country with a population of about 250,000 and we had people on the north side of our city that were international. That’s where our largest business market was. It was six Fortune 500 companies are located in Irving. But it’s also a very diverse population. In the southern end of our town, we had older neighborhoods, poorer neighborhoods, and definitely needed much more public investment down there. And in trying to, you know, work with the businesses that wanted to come in, trying to do, you know, concentrate on job creation while also working with our school district, making sure that we have roads, homes, that… You know, every sector of our population had a place to be able to stay when they’re in our city. It’s a difficult role and it really involves being flexible, compromising, and working with a vast majority of people to make sure that you’re getting the best benefit for your community.

Jimmy: And I believe you were the first HUD regional administrator appointed by the Trump administration. That correct?

Beth: I was. I was appointed by Secretary Carson, yeah.

Jimmy: Yeah. How did that come about and when did you first meet Secretary Carson?

Beth: I actually met him in November of 2016. So, I had seen him. You know, obviously, I had followed the presidential campaign. But I had met him for the first time in November 2016. I had been approached to work with the current administration and it was a natural progression. You know, if you think about who has been previous HUD secretaries, many of them, some of them have been mayors of large Texas, you know, cities. If you think about our job as a mayor, it falls in line exactly with what HUD does, just more of a micro level. Working as a mayor, I found a lot of interactions with HUD to be difficult. There was a lot of regulations and they made it very confusing. Sometimes it didn’t seem like the juice was worth the squeeze. And you really don’t want to have to hire all these people and then take the risk that at the end of the day after hiring these people or the grant that you’re gonna get, you’re not gonna have to have to pay back later on because it didn’t do exactly everything that HUD wanted. So, I was a very suspect client of HUD.

And when I took the job on after speaking with Secretary Carson, you know, it was very clear we need to make ourselves a better partner. When we reach out to local communities, local leaders, when we’re working with businesses, you know, we hear a lot of complaints that there’s a ton of red tape and there’s not a whole lot of consistency and we knew that that’s where we needed to focus. When I sat down with Secretary Carson for the first time, you know, I felt like he was definitely interviewing me, but I definitely wanted to know more about him and how he was approaching this job. And quite honestly, he blew me away because one of the things that he had grown up in was this environment. You know, he came from projects in Detroit. His mother had to work several jobs to make sure that there was food on the table.

He knew this life and he also knew it was important how to get out of that kind of lifestyle and seeing an opportunity, learning through mentors, using education as a way to get out of poverty. Those are things that he’s lived and he was very clear. He said, “You know, we have always looked at the success of HUD by the number of people that we get into public housing and we need to stop that. We need to focus on our success as being the number of people that we graduate out of poverty and out of public housing.” And that has been his focus and I think it has been very successful. It’s been a change for HUD in the way that we’ve always done things. But I think he is very passionate about it and that passion has extended way beyond him, not only to the HUD department but I’d say also throughout the administration.

Jimmy: So, you came into the job with a bit of skepticism.

Beth: Yes.

Jimmy: To put it mildly.

Beth: Yes, with a mission.

Jimmy: Because you saw the other side.

Beth: Yeah, absolutely.

Jimmy: You saw what it looked like from the vantage point of a mayor and yeah, HUD’s mission has changed the way that the department is measuring success these days. We wanna get people out of the program.

Beth: Well, it’s recognition of self-sufficiency for sure. But it’s also the recognition that the public dollars are never gonna be enough to cover the public need. And in order to be able to get additional thoughts, it’s a carrot, not a stick. And it’s you’re gonna have to be able to innovate the tools that are available for the private sector to invest in this market. You know, as mayor, we had some areas of our town that quite honestly private developers had ignored. You know, it wasn’t the shiny new objects. It wasn’t, you know, in North Irving, it wasn’t in Los Colinas, where all the revenue was coming in. It was older areas of our town they just ignored. And in order to get that type of investment there, you do have to incentivize and that you have to be creative but you have to have some programs that make sense that aren’t so difficult to work with that people just say, “You know what? No, that’s not even worth it.”

Jimmy: And the Opportunities Zones Program is one of those programs.

Beth: That works right into it, exactly.

Jimmy: Yeah. So, let’s shift our discussion to Opportunity Zones now. What is HUD’s role in the Opportunity Zones Program? It’s a program that incentivizes private capital to flow to underserved communities. Well, how does a large public sector department… What type of role do they play?

Beth: Well, if you look at the council that was formed that Secretary Carson is the chairman of, he has been put in charge of really kind of being a liaison. A lot of the Opportunity Zones are already within our HUD client base, which just makes sense, and HUD has been on the ground for a number of years working directly in these communities. We know the areas, we know who the stakeholders are and some of the key community leaders that we need to bring to the table. We’ve been working here for a very long time and part of this is really getting that information out to those key stakeholders into the community and getting their feedback. You can create a program but if nobody knows about it, nobody’s gonna be able to take advantage of it. So, HUD already having those relationships, already having an idea of community building, and in those exact areas of opportunity, I think is gonna play very well with getting the information out to those who need to hear it.

Jimmy: Yeah. And there are a lot. I read the other day there’s 2.4 million people that live in HUD-assisted housing within Opportunity Zones alone.

Beth: Yeah. There’s about 35 million people in total that live in them.

Jimmy: Yeah, in total who live in Opportunity Zones. I think 2.4 million of those are in HUD-assisted housing.

Beth: Are HUD clients.

Jimmy: Yes. Yeah. So, what policy levers does HUD have to help magnify the impact of the Opportunity Zones Program?

Beth: You know, there’s a number that we’re considering. Obviously, we have a very diverse portfolio of different vehicles, financial and other incentives to be able to work with not only in potential investors and developers but also with cities and our public housing authorities. You know, our focus right now is getting the information out to people, in getting their input, also in having roundtables and listening sessions. So, bringing together, not just, you know, people like mayors, you know, potentially county judges, but also universities, the people who are gonna be affected directly by living in these Opportunity Zones, bringing them to the table and making them feel like they are part of the solution early on. It’s not just gonna be after the fact when some of these projects are developed, but selling your community, selling what you’ve got, but also hearing these are the opportunities that we have for bringing this kind of wealth. You’re not the last to hear about it, but you were sitting there, and so you are invested in that solution early on.

Jimmy: And a lot of what HUD does is centered around affordable housing and addressing homelessness. How do you think the Opportunity Zones tax policy can help catalyze investment in affordable housing and help address the nation’s homelessness problem?

Beth: Well, you’re taking areas that have historically been low-income and you are creating places where you’re gonna have jobs, where you’re gonna increase the value of that property, where you’re gonna have an increased number of housing units, an increased number of places for people to be able to go and spend money. And that added wealth in those areas, exactly what they need to be able to thrive. Being forgotten about these are not good for anybody. But affordable housing is one of those issues that we hear over and over and over again, nearly in every single city that we work is their biggest pain point. You know, we could talk about job development and how wonderful that is because you’re bringing jobs in the area, but if you don’t have places where people can live, that creates another issue. So, hopefully with these Opportunity Zones, you’re bringing in capital, you’re bringing in jobs, and you’re also bringing in additional places for people live, more opportunities for people to be able to thrive and to be able to grow, to be able to learn, and be able to work. And bringing cash into those neighborhoods is gonna be key to be able to afford those kind of programs that we talk about everyone being able to partake in.

Jimmy: And what is HUD doing specifically to help facilitate the creation of new affordable housing in Opportunity Zones specifically?

Beth: Well, we’re having these conversations right now. I mean we are meeting with a private sector folks. We’re looking to help these cities identify areas that they can, hopefully, look for where do they need housing? You know, what are the needs assessments in your communities and we’re trying to facilitate those conversations. This is meant to be a community up program as opposed to the federal government coming in and telling these cities what they need to do. You know, as a mayor, I never appreciated the federal government knocking on my door and telling me, “Let me tell you what your city needs to do.” It’s very good for us to listen to those community leaders who know, you know, “This is a mom and pop restaurant where people go. This is a church where people go. These are our plans for mobility and transportation opportunities in the future.”

Listen to them and then help facilitate conversations with others that may be able to help them to achieve their goals. It’s not the federal government goals that we’re interested in. It’s helping communities be the best that they can be because I know what their constituents and their residents need and want. And that, I think, is probably the most important part about what we’re doing with Opportunity Zones is it’s not a federal government program per se because it really needs to look at what the local leaders and people living in those communities want. So, facilitating those roundtable discussions, helping to bring together and coordinate all of the federal resources that are available, but to reach the end goal of what the communities need.

Jimmy: And what federal resources are available specifically? Are the grant programs that are available?

Beth: There’s a number of them throughout all the different departments. You know, we’re bringing in SBA. We’re looking at Department of Labor. We’re looking at the Department of Education. Obviously, we’re bringing HUD on to the table. But it’s really identifying and making them all coordinate together, which we all have silos within our different departments, but obviously, within all the federal departments. And sometimes, you know, the left foot is working on this and the right foot doesn’t know about it. And it’s pulling together all the resources into one unit where we’re saying, “Holy cow. I didn’t realize that we’re spending this much money on this one area. But, you know, this might be a need that we might be needing to focus on.” But it’s the coordination and getting rid of all of the various red tape assignments that would make everybody do. I think we’re spending a lot of time. I’m looking at, “Where could we get rid of the red tape where don’t need it? What are all of the available resources and how do we bring them all to one table so they’re easy to get to?” And you get rid of the bureaucracy.

Jimmy: And part of that is the creation of the White House Council on Opportunity and Revitalization.

Beth: Yeah. Bringing everybody to the table.

Jimmy: Bring everybody to the same table. All of the different…

Beth: And making everybody come up with solutions.

Jimmy: Oh, yeah.

Beth: And making everybody accountable not only for coming up with solutions but then for executing those solutions once they’re identified.

Jimmy: You mentioned earlier that a lot of what HUD does overlaps with the jobs that our nation’s mayors do. And you were one of our mayors a few years ago. How have you coordinated with mayors? And you can you give me a few examples of some coordination efforts that your office has undertaken in regards to Opportunity Zones but in particular your Region VI here?

Beth: Yeah. So, Region VI encompasses Texas and then the four states that surround Texas. We have reached out and, again, setting up roundtables with mayors, helping them identify areas of their town that are most in distress and most in need. The Governor of each of the states has identified those and defined the Opportunity Zones. So, looking at specific state cities or towns that have the Opportunity Zones and then contacting those mayors and finding out where we can help. We were in Houston yesterday at a U.S. Conference of Mayors event talking about workforce development, and the two things that we talked about were Opportunity Zones and the EnVision Centers. You know, I could tell you right now, working with Mayor Betsy Price in Fort Worth has been amazing. You know, first of all, I’d known her for a number of years. We served together. But recognizing that she has her thumb on the heartbeat of the city and she knows the area. She knows who all the community leaders are and those people that are gonna be very key in bringing to the table and making sure that we are listening to, “Okay. You might have tried this before, this failed. So, you don’t want to approach it this way,” learning from what they’ve already done.

But, you know, working with Betsy Price has been phenomenal. I had known the former mayor of the city of Little Rock for years. They now have a new mayor of Little Rock. He’s been phenomenal to work with as well because he wants to try new things. It’s not just business as usual. But it’s reaching out to them and giving them an ear, letting them know that you are there to listen to them, but also to help coordinate what facilities we have, not only with HUD but also throughout all of our federal departments. And I think that’s where you’ve seen Secretary Carson really go to work now. He’s an amazing person, but he’s also an amazing leader that he can get everybody to the table to kind of break down these discussions and everybody seems to leave their ego at the door and when he walks in.

Jimmy: Get everyone on the same page. Right? Can you talk a little bit more about The EnVision Centers throughout the country and workforce training that your department is helping to facilitate because I think that is what will actually end up fulfilling the mission of HUD, the new mission of HUD, to graduate people out of the program instead of just measuring your success by the number of people who were in the program.

Beth: So, EnVision Centers were a concept that Secretary Carson had come up with really to provide one-stop shopping. It’s, again, coordinating all of the different resources that are available from the federal government into low-income areas. So, we have 17 demonstration sites currently. The vision is to have these centers across the country, and it’s the network that you create. It’s the network that you create across the country that really provides the value. But it’s giving people a place to go to, to get job training, to find out job opportunities, to get other education, access to health care, mentorship, and leadership. But one-stop shopping of all different federal programs, but we concentrated on cities that were already doing this type of work, had recognized the need within their city. So, in Region VI, we’ve got one in Fort Worth, and we brought together their housing authority. We’ve put together some of their churches and faith-based organizations. HUD is there. But the city has been phenomenal. We are working with a number of their rec centers and their community centers to bring people there to have access to all sorts of services that were already being provided but maybe they didn’t know about it.

Not only did the community not know about it, but it was amazing how many services were being provided that other people were providing. And the providers themselves didn’t know that these other services existed. And so, when you bring them together all under the same roof, they can all see it. And so, they’ve done a community needs assessment where they figured out, “This is where we need the most concentration. By the way, this is where we don’t have anybody working on it.” And so, you’ve seen that kind of coordination between the cities and the providers coming together to create new services, but which is totally different than the other EnVision Center that we have, which is in Poteau, Oklahoma, which serves the Choctaw Nation. The needs that they have there are vastly different than Fort Worth, but every bit as necessary. Infrastructure and jobs creation tools, educational tools are all things that they are working on. So, they’re approaching it differently, but it’s still taking each and personalizing it to the needs of those people that live there. But what we see is an ability to get people trained, get them jobs, give them mentors so they can see a way out of poverty. And ultimately, the goal of the EnVision Centers is to help people get self-sufficient, become self-sufficient, through education and through mentorships.

Jimmy: Good. What are some of the areas with the greatest need for HUD assistance in your region specifically?

Beth: You see a lot in urban areas, but you also see some in rural communities. Affordable housing, like I mentioned before, is probably our number one need. We are creating more jobs in this area than other areas of the country. Texas specifically, Dallas, Fort Worth is one of the fastest growing areas, but affordable housing is one thing that we’re definitely working on, job opportunities, access to health care. We’re working on, you know, lead-based paint initiatives. We’re also, you know, throwing our hand in to help with the opioid addictions. Being a surgeon, being in a medical provider as Secretary Carson was, that’s definitely one of his concerns as well. And you can provide somebody with a house, but if they’re sick, it’s not gonna do them any good. And then we’ve also focused on supplying help for mental health. You know, when we start looking at our homelessness population, they’re not homeless without a reason and a lot of that reason it tends to be things that unless they get help with, you know, providing a roof over their head isn’t gonna help them long-term. Mental health is one of those issues. Opioid addiction is another issue. We are trying to provide them with whatever tools that they need. Sometimes that’s counseling and sometimes just an ability to be able to get off it because they find other success in life.

Jimmy: Let ask you about if I’m a private investor and I’m interested in taking advantage of the opportunities as an initiative, what types of assistance can I receive from HUD with getting a new real estate project or new business development off the ground?

Beth: Well, you know part of these roundtables that we’re having, hopefully, we’ll be able to identify newer projects, specific projects that would be available for them to be able to invest in. A lot of it has to do with the relationship building and where they might be coming to. A lot of the event emphasis that we’re having is partnership building and realizing that HUD is involved, realizing that they’re gonna be able to get the assistance from a number of federal… Of partners working with the city. I think it takes a project that maybe an iffy project to realize that you got this many people involved in it, that it isn’t a sure project. You’ve got the cooperation of your local leaders, your county leaders, your state and your federal leaders all working together to get this completed. So, there’s some assuredness there, but we’re really working on relationships so, we can help identify projects, we can bring technical assistance, and we can see how you can leverage the various resources from across the state and federal departments to really bring the most return on investment to those investors. The Opportunity Zones right now, there’s very little on red tape around them specifically to try to attract a private investment.

Jimmy: That’s one of the benefits of the program is that…

Beth: That’s absolutely one of the benefits.

Jimmy: …the funds can self-certify. There’s very little in the way of red tape.

Beth: Well, and in some instances, you know, what we talked about is investors being able to double the ROI of building in these identified zones. So, if you build in a qualified Opportunity Zone, there’s a potential, or if you invest for over 10 years, you’ll be able to double, you know, what you would normally have made.

Jimmy: Yeah. After taxes. Right?

Beth: Exactly.

Jimmy: Yeah, absolutely. Though HUD recently issued a request for information, your department is seeking input on actions that the department should take in regard to further stimulating positive impact in Opportunity Zones. What are you hearing so far from community leaders, investors and other stakeholders in your region?

Beth: People are really excited to start having this kind of conversations. I think they want… There’s some questions that they still feel like need to be answered. I know the IRS and Treasury is still working on getting those out. We are trying to lay the basis for, “What does this program need to look like when it’s mature?” You know, some of the questions that we’re asking is, you know, how can we maximize a beneficial impact of public and private investments in urban and economically-distressed communities? You know, do we need to create an information portal. Right? I mean, what do you want to see in a website? How can HUD prioritize support for urban and economically-distressed areas and grants, financing, and other assistance? You know, what types of technical assistance should we offer, you know, through HUD or how can we ensure existing residents and businesses and community organizations in Opportunities Zones benefit from the influx of investment? We need to be able to define that.

Part of our long-term look is it’s not just creating a program, but it is creating measurable outcomes that we can say, “This is successful. This is where we should focus more of our time, more types of programs, because this has shown a benefit in X, Y, and Z.” And I think what you’re saying is we wanna quickly define what those are to bring everybody on the same page. You know, we’re looking at how those investments can support the goal of ending homelessness. You know, are we creating wealth in those areas to the point where we’re able to support additional jobs, additional educational opportunities, additional housing, and help eradicate homelessness around the country? And then we’re also looking at any other aspects of the Opportunity Zones that should be considered or not addressed in our request for information. So, are there things that we’ve talked about or are there things that we haven’t talked about yet? And I think we’re asking the communities to help provide that information to us.

You know, when I went to that conference a couple of weeks ago in Plano, we had people from across the country, and it was quite honestly eye-opening to me that you had so many people who were interested in the Opportunity Zones that were waiting for a little bit more information. But they had a lot to say. And I think what you’re saying is HUD coming in, acting as the liaison, but also heading up the panel that’s gonna come together and say, “This is what’s going on in the communities. This is what we need to address to make them feel more ready to be able to write a check and even be able to get more involved.”

There’s definitely an interest in there, and we’re not talking about a small amount of money. I mean, what were we have a hope to see is over a $100 billion of new money across the country into these distressed areas that would otherwise not be invested. And yesterday when I threw out that figure of $100 billion, you know, all of the mayors in that room got it. I mean, immediately their eyes opened and they shook their heads. And that is a game changer. And that $100 billion hopefully is a start. And if we can more fine-tune the project, the program, and we can listen to what some of their concerns are and ease those and make sure that they’re properly addressed, you know, that number will definitely increase.

Jimmy: That’s a lot of money…

Beth: That’s a ton of money.

Jimmy: …that could make some real impact in these communities.

Beth: But there’s also a lot of money to be made.

Jimmy: Absolutely. Yeah.

Beth: And we’d rather have it made in areas of our country that need it the most.

Jimmy: That need it, yeah, one of the areas of biggest need in the country. What are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve faced so far in your time at HUD? You’ve been here almost two years now.

Beth: Yeah. Again, you know, HUD means different things to different people depending on their experience with it. I think getting out our successes and exactly what we do has been a challenge. I think a lot of people just view us as a bricks and mortar owner and it could not be farther, you know, from the truth. The fact is that we’re a partner. You know, in everything that we do relies on our partnerships and our relationships within the community. There will never be enough private dollars or public dollars rather for us to fulfill the mission. And, you know, working with a group of people who believe heart and soul and that, you know, every individual with our community deserves to have a successful life in and the opportunity for success, the opportunity to be able to live the way each of us should, I think, it’s heartening, but it’s also hard work because a lot of that in title is entailed with work with community leaders but also working, not with community leaders, but those who need your help the most. And sometimes getting that information out and educating the general public about, “Here are all the tools that are available to you. You just don’t know about them,” is one of the more difficult things that we have I think is communication.

Jimmy: Yeah. There’s so many different programs available just under HUD alone, but then going beyond how there’s so many different federal and state programs available, it’s kind of hard to keep track of all those. Absolutely.

Beth: You know, we have had had challenges within Region VI just, you know, specifically in Texas last year with Hurricane Harvey. I guess that was in 2017, but you know that it still exists today in what we’re doing with Louisiana. You know, disasters have popped up all across the country and trying to address those at the same time of doing your core mission has been a challenge specifically in Region VI. And I know that they’re feeling it in The East Coast too when you look at Puerto Rico, you look at Florida and the Carolinas right now. But, you know, in addition to the folks who are already in need and already are our clients, looking at those new people that are created specifically out of the disaster, it can be tough.

Jimmy: I’m sure it can. Yeah. And so, the challenge really is getting the information. And getting the information out there, so the stakeholders are aware of what’s available, that’s part of the mission of this podcast too. I thank you for coming on with me today. This has been great. Thank you for your time. But before we go, can you tell our listeners where they can go to learn more about you and HUD and how can they respond to HUD’s requests for information?

Beth: Definitely. Well, you know, HUD, we have worked on our website dramatically. It has been overdone in the last two years. So, I’d encourage you to go to the HUD website for a lot more information on Opportunity Zones, on EnVision Centers, and if they have any responses at all to the requests that were asking for more information on the Opportunity Zones, I would ask that they submit those to www.regulations.gov. I am available, and I am always…I’m here traveling throughout our fantastic district. You know, we’ve got. Oklahoma. We have Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas. So, at any point in time, anybody wants to come see me, just let me know and we are anxious to work with the public and give them any information they need, especially if they’re an investor.

Jimmy: Excellent. So, for my listeners out there, I’ll have show notes for this episode on the Opportunity Zones database website. You can find those show notes at opportunitydb.com/podcast, and you’ll find links to all of the resources that Beth and I discussed on today’s show. I’ll have a link to the regulations.gov page where you can submit your response to HUD’s request for information and I’ll also have links to Region VI website so you can learn more about Beth and get in touch with her office.

Beth: Excellent. And if…I’m happy to share my email address as well. It would be [email protected]

Jimmy: Thanks. Then I’ll have a link to that email address as well. Now, Beth, this has been a pleasure.

Beth: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it and it’s great to meet you. And I look forward to working on this and bringing those $100 billion dollars as soon as we can, hopefully, all in our region.

Jimmy: That’ll be great. Thanks again. I appreciate it.

Beth: Thank you.

Jimmy Atkinson

Jimmy Atkinson

Hi, I'm Jimmy Atkinson... I founded OpportunityDb in August 2018. I'm a veteran Internet entrepreneur with a background in economics and Web marketing. I previously founded ETFdb.com. These days, I am passionate about impact investing and tax-advantaged investment opportunities. At the crossroads of these two ideals is the opportunity zones program, a place-based tax policy intended to economically transform some of the poorest areas of the United States with new real estate and business development.

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