Portland, OR, Nov 01, 2011 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last week selected recipients across the country for grants to make critical repairs and improve housing conditions for low- and very-low-income rural residents. The current announcement includes funding for three Oregon organizations to repair substandard housing conditions in Coos, Curry, Douglas and Linn Counties.
"Providing safe housing to rural residents is a key to maintaining stable communities and creating jobs," Vilsack said. "Across America, USDA works in partnership with Tribes, community organizations and nonprofit groups to improve living conditions for thousands of rural residents."
The support Vilsack announced is being provided through USDA Rural Development's Housing Preservation Grants program. Funds are provided to intermediaries such as town or county governments, public agencies, federally recognized Indian Tribes, and non-profit and faith-based and community organizations. These organizations then distribute the grants to homeowners and owners of multi-family rental properties or cooperative dwellings who rent to low- and very-low-income residents.
Grants may be used to make general repairs, such as installing or improving plumbing or providing or enhancing access to people with disabilities. Funds may also be used to weatherize and make homes more energy efficient.
In Oregon, a total USDA Rural Development investment of over $167,000 in Housing Preservation Grants to three organizations will leverage almost $1.7 million in funds from other sources. For example, Community Services Consortium will apply $58,500 in Rural Development funds along with $81,000 from other sources to repair and correct health and safety issues in the Linn County homes of very-low income residents, including elderly, handicapped, minority and single parent households.
A $58,582 grant to the Coquille Indian Housing Authority will help replace 54 wind- and water-damaged roofs on the homes of low-income residents in Oregon's Coos County. The entire project, which will cost more than $860,000, leverages funding from the Coquille Indian Tribe and other agencies over the next two years.
In another effort, Umpqua Community Development Corporation will use a $50,000 Rural Development grant and over $800,000 from other sources to correct failing septic systems and other health and safety issues in homes located in Douglas, Coos and Curry Counties.
“One of our key strategies at USDA Rural Development is to direct our limited program dollars to leverage funding from other public and private sources,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker. “In doing so, we encourage investments in our small towns, help create jobs, support economic growth, and build thriving rural communities where people want to live, work and raise their families.”
A complete list of Housing Preservation Grant recipients across the Nation is available online. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.
Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President wants the federal government to be the best possible partner for rural businesses and entrepreneurs creating job opportunities and for people who want to live, work, and raise their families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $155 billion in affordable loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).