Distressed Cities Technical Assistance

The Distressed Cities Technical Assistance (DCTA) program is designed to improve fiscal health and build administrative capacity of relatively small units of general local government (UGLGs or local governments) that are economically distressed and have been recently impacted by a natural disaster.

DCTA considers good fiscal health, strong financial performance, and effective financial management practices to be the foundation for local governments to successfully implement projects and goals. These are viewed as the central components of the technical assistance (TA) offered through this program. Other possible areas of TA under this program include economic stabilization and recovery, federal development programs, affordable housing financing, community engagement practices, cross-sector partnerships, and plan implementation.

Please note, approved TA engagements begin with an assessment of your local government’s fiscal health and financial management practices.

This program is designed to help small UGLGs:

  • Improve Financial Management: Adopt effective, efficient, and sustainable (long-term) financial management practices that improve fiscal health
  • Build Program Capacity: Based on the UGLG’s interests, build capacity in one program area, such as:
    • Planning for economic stabilization and/or recovery post disaster (including prolonged disasters and public health crises)
    • Financing affordable housing developments or economic development projects
    • Utilizing federal development programs such as opportunity zones
  • Improve Internal Processes: Based on the UGLG’s needs, improve at least one internal process, such as:
    • Gathering and analyzing data that is representative of the community
    • Implementing or tracking progress of recently adopted planning documents
    • Building cross-sector partnerships
    • Establishing equitable community engagement practices

This program allows HUD to develop a set of best practices and recommendations to share with other communities facing similar challenges.

Capacity Needs Assessment

The first phase of DCTA is a capacity needs assessment (CNA). To learn more about the CNA process, as well as the financial management component of the CNA, view the resources below.

If you have any questions about the DCTA program please contact the DCTA Team at distressedcities@hud.gov.

Summer 2020 Webinar Series

The Responding to COVID-19 webinar series presents resources for small UGLGs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

View the Webinar Schedule

Learn More

Learn more about the DCTA program, including program basics, terminology, eligibility and selection criteria, and TA.

English Fact Sheet

Spanish Fact Sheet

DCTA Resources

Access resources, webinars, reports, and other information relevant to small UGLGs, including COVID-19 resources.

View the DCTA Resources


Eligibility Criteria

Distressed Community

Meets at least one of these criteria:

  • Average unemployment rate of 9 percent or more over the past three years, using American Community Survey (ACS) 5-Year Estimates

    View the "Employment Status" Table, click on the "Geographies" button above the table, and search for your community. Make sure you find the data for the three most recent ACS 5-Year tables. These can be selected using the "product" dropdown menu.

  • A poverty rate of 20 percent or more among individuals not enrolled in higher education, as of the most recent ACS 5-Year Estimates

    View the "Poverty Status in the Past 12 Months by School Enrollment by Level of School for the Population 3 Years and Over" Table, click on the "Geographies" button above the table, and search for your community. The calculation of the poverty rate should not include individuals enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs, which are listed under their own columns.

  • A population decline of 5 percent or more between the 2010 Decennial Census and the most recent ACS 5-Year Estimates

    View the Decennial Census data and the ACS 5-Year Estimates for your community.
If you need assistance accessing the data described above, please email distressedcities@hud.gov with “Data Assistance [Your UGLG Name]” in the subject line.

Impacted by a Natural Disaster

Community is in a county that has a Major Disaster Declaration from 2015 onward.

Visit www.fema.gov/disasters to see if your community meets this eligibility criteria. You will need the four-digit Disaster Declaration Number (DR number) for the most recent disaster in your county to request Distressed Cities TA.

Please note, if your community experienced a disaster in the last calendar year and is dealing with urgent service and infrastructure recovery, this program may not be the most appropriate at this time. Please consider your current needs and priorities prior to requesting assistance under this program.

Population Size

Community's population is less than 40,000 people, according to the most recent ACS 5-Year Estimates.

Communities with populations between 8,000 and 40,000 will be prioritized for TA under this program. The DCTA Team is working on alternative resources to assist communities with populations under 8,000.

Visit https://data.census.gov to locate the total population for your community.


Request Technical Assistance

If your community meets these criteria and may benefit from Distressed Cities TA, you may request TA via an email to distressedcities@hud.gov.

It is recommended that your city manager, mayor, or the equivalent submit the request for TA. This person will be encouraged to participate in preliminary phone calls with the DCTA Team. The request must be submitted by an employee of the UGLG.

The request must be submitted as a PDF document which includes the following details:

  • Name of UGLG:
    e.g., City, County, Township, Village, etc., for example Sample City

  • State:

  • HUD Field Office:
    Note: It is strongly encouraged that you contact your HUD Field Office prior to submitting a request for TA.

  • Point of Contact:
    Name, Title, Organization, Email, Phone Number

  • HUD TA Background:
    i.e., Dates and details of TA consultations in past three years

  • Unemployment Rate:
    Please provide the UGLG’s average unemployment rate from the three most recent ACS 5-Year Estimates.

  • Poverty Rate:
    Please provide the UGLG’s poverty rate among individuals not enrolled in higher education from the most recent ACS 5-Year Estimates.

  • Population Decline %:
    Please provide the UGLG’s population change (as a percentage) between the 2010 Decennial Census and the most recent ACS 5-Year Estimates.

  • Disaster Number and Year:
    If your community has a Major Disaster Declaration from 2015 onward, please provide the most recent disaster number and year. If your community has not experienced a disaster from 2015 onward, you may still submit a request, however your request will not be prioritized.

  • Total Population:
    Please provide the total population from the most recent ACS 5-Year Estimates. If your community’s total population is not within the range of 8,000 and 40,000, you may still submit a request, however your request will not be prioritized.

  • Please list the program area(s) for which your UGLG requests assistance:
    • Planning for economic stabilization and/or recovery post disaster (including prolonged disasters and public health crises)
    • Financing affordable housing developments or economic development projects
    • Utilizing federal development programs, such as opportunity zones

    This is a required field. You must list at least one topic. It is strongly recommended that you provide some contextual information as to why your community needs assistance in the listed topic areas. If selected, it is possible to change your programmatic area.

  • If known, please list the internal process(es) for which your UGLG requests assistance:
    • Gathering and analyzing data that is representative of the community
    • Implementing or tracking progress of recently adopted planning documents
    • Building cross-sector partnerships
    • Establishing equitable community engagement practices

  • Please attach relevant documents. The following documents are required for consideration:
    1. Most recent comprehensive plan (master plans and consolidated plans are appropriate alternatives)
    2. Most recent annual report/update on your community's comprehensive plan
    3. Most recent financial audit
    4. Organizational chart
     

    These are required documents for consideration. If, for example, your most recent financial audit was five years ago, the DCTA Team is still requiring you to submit that audit report.

    If you do not have a current organizational chart, you may provide a written description of your organizational structure. This description should be no longer than 500 words.


Contact distressedcities@hud.gov if you have questions about the requested information.

Eligibility Note

Only UGLGs are eligible to receive this TA. Please do not submit a request to the Distressed Cities email if you are not a representative of a UGLG.

Questions?

Review the FAQs to get answers to common questions.

View the DCTA FAQs


If you have questions about this TA after reviewing the FAQs, you can email the DCTA Team.

Email the DCTA Team