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Obama Admin. Using 'Promise Zones' to Pump Federal Money to Impoverished Regions

"Priority access."

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks alongside Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro (L), during a neighborhood stop to highlight his administration's home purchase and refinancing policies in Phoenix, Arizona, January 8, 2015. (Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS (TheBlaze/AP) -- Six metropolitan areas, one rural region and one tribal community have been designated as Promise Zones under an Obama administration program that seeks to revitalize high-poverty communities.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro announced the new Promise Zone designations after touring a job-training center in St. Louis, one of the eight new participants in the program that began last year. The program seeks to increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, improve health and reduce violent crime.

US President Barack Obama speaks alongside Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro (L), during a neighborhood stop to highlight his administration's home purchase and refinancing policies in Phoenix, Arizona, January 8, 2015. (Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

The other new Promise Zones are Camden, New Jersey; Hartford, Connecticut; Indianapolis; Minneapolis; Sacramento, California; the Low Country of South Carolina, and Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota.

The designation gives impoverished areas of the communities a leg up in obtaining grants and other federal assistance. According to a statement from HUD, all promise zones will receive priority access to federal funding that is aimed to create more jobs, build infrastructure, provide health services and deliver educational resources.

President Barack Obama's administration announced the first five promise zones in January 2014. They included certain neighborhoods of San Antonio, Philadelphia and Los Angeles; in addition to Southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

The White House announced plans last years to designate 20 promise zones, of which 13 have already been named.

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