Areas of Concentrated Poverty (ACP) are focal areas of the Fair Housing and Equity Assessment (FHEA). FHEA is a required component of grantees of the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program. Equity and access to opportunity are critical underpinnings of the Grant program. The FHEA is meant to engage different groups, particular those individuals and groups who have traditionally been marginalized from the community planning process, in helping address disparity issues and equalize access to opportunity.
A key component of the FHEA is identifying Areas of Concentrated Poverty (ACP) and Racially Concentrated Areas of Poverty (RCAP). Areas of Concentrated Poverty usually have higher crime, as well as schools with lower test scores and lower graduation rates. Exposure to concentrated poverty compromises the physical and mental health of both poor people and their neighbors. People of color disproportionately suffer from the negative consequences of living in concentrated areas of poverty regardless of their socioeconomic status.
Areas of concentrated povery are defined as census tracts where more than 40 percent of the residents have incomes less than or equal to 185 percent of the federal poverty line. Census tract values are from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey 5-year data, 2007-2011.
Racial segregation and concentration of poverty are closely intertwined with each other in the Twin Cities metropolitan region. Racial segregation triggers disinvestment in communities, lowers property values, reduces the tax base of communities, and deepens poverty. Moreover, segregation practices limit people of color to areas of concentrated poverty, thus limiting exposure to economic and social opportunities found in more balanced communities.