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The original item was published from 11/29/2021 2:10:06 PM to 12/30/2021 12:00:03 AM.

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Posted on: November 29, 2021

[ARCHIVED] USDA Announces Investment

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USDA Invests $86 Million to Improve Equitable Access to Jobs, Business Opportunities, Education, Health Care and Housing for Rural People

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the Department is investing $86 million to improve equitable access to jobs, business opportunities, education, housing and health care for people who live and work in rural areas. The investments are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ensure that people living in rural communities have equitable access to the infrastructure and opportunities often taken for granted by people living in urban and suburban areas.

“Regardless of where they live, their race, ethnicity or gender, or the size of the town in which they live, all people must have access to decent housing, clean water and good job opportunities,” Vilsack said. “This is foundational to a healthy society and stable communities. Today’s announcements build on the historic investments made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act signed into law by President Biden to ensure equity during a time when people living in underserved places are suffering the most. These investments will go a long way toward helping America ‘Build Back Better’ toward a just and more equitable society.”
 
Acting State Director for USDA Rural Development – Delaware/Maryland, Scott Kessel, believes that this program will spark more interest in the many other areas that Rural Development provides assistance for communities.
 
“This is just a small portion of what we can provide for our rural communities in Delaware and Maryland,” said Kessel. “Our goal is to provide this type of financing as often as possible so that we can make sure that the disadvantaged families in our communities have the resources needed to have a home they can grow and thrive in.”
Background:

Vilsack highlighted 218 investments that USDA is making in six programs specifically designed to help people and businesses in rural areas. These programs include Tribal College Initiative Grants, Rural Community Development Initiative Grants, Housing Preservation Grants, Delta Health Care Grants, Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grants and Water and Waste Disposal Grants.
 
The funding will help more than 425,000 people in 46 states, Puerto Rico and the Western Pacific. It reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development helps rural residents, businesses and communities address economic development, infrastructure and social service needs. It will help low-income people make health and safety repairs to their homes. It will help build and improve water and wastewater infrastructure for people living in U.S. communities along the Mexico border. It will help rural business owners in the Mississippi Delta get access to capital and business development assistance. It also will help colleges that serve Tribal populations upgrade campus buildings and services.
 
Maryland was the recipient of $349,000 in awards that will help many families with affordable housing. For example:
 
•    Habitat for Humanity of Susquehanna received $50,000 that will provide assistance to 10 families in their community. Much of this funding will be used to repair homes of low-income residents in the area.
 
•    Another $50,000 award was given to Rebuilding Kent County. Funds will enable the them to offer low-income homeowners grants and/or low interest loans for critical home repair projects designed to improve its living conditions. Because of this investment, homes repaired will then meet current property and safety standards.
 
•    The remaining $249,000 will be given to projects throughout Maryland such as the Maryland Rural Development Corporation, Shore Up! Inc., Smith Island Untied, the County Commissioners of Charles County, and Garrett County Community Action Committee. These programs will be using these awards to repair homes in their communities and provide suitable ho                                                            
 
The 218 awards Secretary Vilsack announced today are being made in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Western Pacific.
 
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. USDA Rural Development is prioritizing projects that will support key priorities under the Biden-Harris Administration to help rural America build back better and stronger. Key priorities include combatting the COVID-19 pandemic; addressing the impacts of climate change; and advancing equity in rural America. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/priority-points. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
 
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.


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