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LA To Receive Up To $500M As White House 'Promise Zone'

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — The city of Los Angeles could receive as much as $500 million in grant money over the next decade under a federal program to fight poverty and improve quality of life, according to reports.

Under the Promise Zone initiative, L.A. and four other regions across the United States have been selected as part of the Obama Administration's plan to combat high poverty in American communities, White House officials announced Wednesday.

The initiative, which was first announced in President Obama's 2013 State of the Union speech, is designed to bolster partnerships between local businesses and their community "to create jobs, increase economic security, expand access to educational opportunities and quality, affordable housing and improve public safety," according to a statement.

KNX 1070's Pete Demetriou reports five specific neighborhoods will be eligible to receive federal funds: Pico-Union, Westlake, Hollywood, East Hollywood, and Koreatown, which all share ethnically diverse and economically challenged demographics.

LA To Receive Up To $500M As White House 'Promise Zone'

In addition to LA, San Antonio, Philadelphia, southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma will also participate in the program.

Several federal agencies would be involved in funding, including the departments of Justice, Agriculture, Education, and Housing and Urban Development, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The White House says President Obama believes investing in and rebuilding economically challenged communities is crucial to helping children have a chance at success.

Not all Angelenos, however, were sold on the plan.

"Promises are promises, the proof is in the pudding," said resident Ed Stromwell. "Whatever's best for the next generation, 'cause it's obviously not gonna happen in ours."

"We keep hearing about wonderful things that never happen," he added.

Mayor Eric Garcetti was scheduled to visit the White House Thursday to mark the launch of the "Promise Zone" initiative.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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