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Investments under the Opportunity Zone (OZ) program have reached a milestone, according to Novogradac, a national accounting and consulting firm.

Qualified opportunity funds (QOFs) on the Novogradac Opportunity Funds List surpassed $10 billion in equity raised, and the total invested in all QOFs is likely significantly more than that, said the company.

Nearly all of the $10 billion-plus was raised before March 13, the date President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. Anecdotal evidence since March 13 suggests QOFs are seeing a pause in new investment as the nation struggles to react to the pandemic, noted firm officials.

“It’s very difficult to say precisely how the market has been affected,” said John Lettieri, president and CEO at the Economic Innovation Group (EIG), a bipartisan public policy organization that champions the use of the OZ incentive. “It certainly hasn’t helped. COVID-19 has been massively disruptive to OZs in the same way that it’s been massively upsetting to the entire economy.”

However, OZ investment is situated to help some of the hardest-hit, low-income communities during the post-pandemic recovery.

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