The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) fund numerous programs specifically for communities facing disproportionate health, environmental, and economic burden. These programs for disadvantaged communities are available across sectors, including clean energy and transit, climate change, affordable housing, environmental remediation, clean water, and workforce development.
To prepare applications for these programs, eligible non-profit organizations and local governments are encouraged to develop criteria for identifying disadvantaged or overburdened communities. As there is no standardized definition of a disadvantaged community, federal agencies are responsible for developing their own approach to identifying target communities and assessing program success. As many IRA and BIL funding opportunities are Justice40-covered programs, 40% of the overall benefits must flow to disadvantaged communities. This summary provides an overview of approaches to developing definitions that align with these programs’ application requirements.