Temple, Texas, Nov 07, 2011 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack selected recipients in 50 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for grants to make critical repairs and improve housing conditions for low- and very-low-income rural residents.
“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 non-profit groups to improve living conditions for thousands of rural residents."
“The cost of maintaining a home is challenging for many rural homeowners,” said Paco Valentin, USDA Rural Development State Director. “This funding, available through Rural Development Housing Preservation grants, will help rural property owners make improvements to ensure their homes are decent, safe, sanitary and energy-efficient.”
In Texas, four recipients have been awarded over $630,000 through Rural Development’s Housing Preservation Grant program. East Texas Council of Governments of Gregg County was awarded $67,815, Economic Opportunity Advancement Corporation of McLennan County was awarded $201,600, Fort Bend Community Revitalization Projects of Fort Bend County received $200,000 and Panhandle Community Services received $160,000 to benefit residents of the Texas Panhandle.
These grants are 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.
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 existing portfolio of more than $155 billion in 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.
For information on this and other USDA Rural Development programs in Texas, visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/TXHome.html.