By Angela W. Adolph

Last week, the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI) began using updated census tract eligibility data  that is based on the 2006-2010 American Community Survey (ACS).  In 2005, the Census Bureau launched the ACS to replace the long-form census survey.  ACS collects socioeconomic and housing information continuously from a national sample  and provides a five-year average of information, as opposed to a single point-in-time estimate provided by a traditional census survey.  Community Development Entities (CDEs) will be able to use the new data to determine whether Qualified Low Income Community Investments (QLICIs) are located in eligible census tracts.

CDFI announced that a contract for developing a new mapping system reflecting new program eligibility is expected to be executed by the end of the year. The new system will allow users to locate eligible census tracts for all of its programs, including NMTCs, Community Development Financial Institutions Program, Native American CDFI Initiatives Program, and Bank Enterprise Award Program, on a map and to code addresses to the new census tract boundaries.   Currently, only updated eligibility criteria for the NMTC program is available.

CDFI has also released a list of 2010 census tracts that are eligible because they are located in high out-migration areas. A high out-migration area is one which has a net out-migration of residents of at least 10% of the population at the beginning of the measurement period, which is the 20 year period ending with the year in which the most recent census was conducted,.   In Louisiana, Morehouse and Vernon Parish are identified as having eligible census tracts due to high out-migration.

CDFI recognizes that CDEs may have already started to structure investments based on 2000 census data.  CDFI will allow current NMTC allocates to use either the new or old census data for transactions closing between May 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013.