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Distressed Cities and Persistent Poverty Technical Assistance Program

Office of Technical Assistance (OTA)

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Distressed Cities and Persistent Poverty Technical Assistance Program 

Download the DCTA Program Info Sheet (English | Español)


The Distressed Cities and Persistent Poverty Technical Assistance (DCTA) program is designed to build capacity of local governments experiencing economic distress and assist local governments and their nonprofit partners in alleviating persistent poverty in specific areas (census tracts). Through DCTA, HUD provides technical assistance (TA) directly to entities serving smaller communities with populations under 50,000.

DCTA considers good fiscal health, strong financial performance, and effective financial management practices to be the foundation for successful implementation of projects and progression towards goals. Therefore, these are central components of the TA offered through this program.

Other possible areas of TA under the DCTA program include governance and management, leadership development, data and research, building partnerships, community engagement, strategic planning, plan implementation, and program evaluation. This list is not exhaustive. Please email if you need TA in another area and are unsure if it fits within the scope of the DCTA program.

Most DCTA recipients work on building capacity in the areas listed above by identifying a priority goal they would like to make progress on. See examples below.

Example Table

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Goal Assessment TA Activities TA Outcome(s)
Improve long-term fiscal stability
  • Review year-end audits and adopted operating and capital budgets
  • Review state compliance audit of city’s pension plan
  • Interview mayor, city administrator, and councilmen (also acting as department heads, and in one case CFO)
  • Develop cash-flow projection in Microsoft excel for current FY
  • Develop three-year financial projection
  • Determine financial investment associated with mayor and council members’ goals and facilitate prioritization process.
  • City officials have a plan to meet obligations for rest of the year
  • City leaders understand size of structural deficit, how it changes over time, and how to prioritize limited resources to meet needs
  • City leaders equipped to continue using and updating cash-flow projection and multiyear projection
  • City leaders able to use multiyear projection model to see financial impact of prioritized goals
Retain qualified staff in essential positions
  • Interview city manager or mayor, department managers, and human resources staff
  • Review recipient and nearby localities’ pay schedules
  • Look for trends in departures and vacancies
  • Review employee incentive and growth opportunities
  • Connect with peer cities to learn about their employee incentives
  • Learn how to adopt a local hiring policy
  • Identify previous employees’ areas of frustrations and take steps to mitigate
  • Received relatively high number of applicants for recently posted position that describes workplace flexibilities (an employee incentive)


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Category 1: Economically Distressed

Units of general local government (UGLGs or local governments) serving populations under 50,000 that are economically distressed are eligible to receive capacity building technical assistance through HUD’s Distressed Cities and Persistent Poverty Technical Assistance (DCTA) Program.

  • Economically Distressed: Local governments with an average unemployment rate of 9 percent or more in the 2020 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates; a poverty rate of 20 percent or more among individuals not enrolled in higher education as of the 2020 ACS 5-year estimates, OR a population decline of 5 percent or more between the 2010 Decennial Census and 2020 ACS 5-Year estimates.

Category 2: Experiencing Persistent Poverty

Units of general local government (UGLGs or local governments) serving populations under 50,000 with one or more census tracts experiencing persistent poverty are eligible to receive capacity building technical assistance through HUD’s Distressed Cities and Persistent Poverty Technical Assistance (DCTA) Program.

  • Persistent Poverty: A census tract with a poverty rate of 20 percent or higher over the past 30 years.

**Please note Categories 1 and 2 are not mutually exclusive. **

Search for your local government in the Excel workbook or interactive map linked below to see if you are eligible. If you believe your local government is eligible but is not noted as such in these materials, please contact


For information on the methodology used to create this eligibility materials, please see FAQs 1-4.

Request Technical Assistance

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Submit your request for technical assistance via this online form. If you experience difficulties accessing and completing this form, please email

The DCTA program operates on a demand-response system, meaning there is no deadline for requesting technical assistance through this program. However, requesting assistance early is highly encouraged to better ensure HUD will be able to approve your request. This program has limited capacity and may not be able to approve all requests. Requests for financial management technical assistance will be prioritized.

Some non-profit organizations may receive technical assistance in partnership with their local government. The local government must submit a request and will be the lead entity for the technical assistance engagement. Non-profit organizations may submit a request separately to provide information on their organization and its partnership with the local government. If you are unsure if this approach is appropriate for your local government and community needs, please email If this approach fits your needs and circumstances, please note this in your request. You will be prompted to provide the name of the other local government(s) and non-profit organizations as well as your primary points of contact at these entities.


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Content current as of April 15, 2024.

What is technical assistance (TA)?

Guidance which enables recipients to overcome a lack of specific skills or knowledge and, by doing so, become more successful in meeting the needs of their communities. TA is the transfer of skills and knowledge to entities that may need, but do not possess, such skills and knowledge.

Frequently Asked Questions

Request TA Here

Current recipients of DCTA and others looking for resources for economically distressed communities, visit the DCTA HUD Exchange.

  • City of Barstow, California
  • City of Bogalusa, Louisiana
  • City of Dunkirk, New York
  • City of Fairfield, Alabama
  • City of Fleming-Neon, Kentucky
  • City of Gretna, Louisiana
  • City of Hardin, Montana
  • City of Hattiesburg, Mississippi
  • City of Johnstown, Pennsylvania
  • City of Laurel, Mississippi
  • Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota
  • City of Lima, Ohio
  • City of Monessen, Pennsylvania
  • Muscogee Creek Nation, Oklahoma
  • City of North Adams, Massachusetts
  • City of Needles, California
  • City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts
  • City of Salem, New Jersey
  • City of Selma, Alabama
  • City of Sylvester, Georgia
  • City of Vaiden, Mississippi
  • City of Westwego, Louisiana
  • City of York, Alabama

  • Tribes
  • Villages
  • Towns
  • Cities
  • Counties
  • Municipalities


Partner nonprofit organizations must be established 501(c)3 organizations with a history of working to alleviate poverty in your jurisdiction.