Denver, CO, Oct 28, 2011 -- Denver, CO., - October 28, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today 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. Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Doug O’Brien announced the recipients today on Secretary Vilsack’s behalf while attending a local Farm Bill listening session in Selma, Ala.
“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 support Vilsack is announcing today 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.
For example, Habitat for Humanity of Montrose County will use a $32,504 Rural Development grant along with $23,000 from Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding and other foundations for repairs and rehabilitation of five low income owner occupied homes within the Town of Olathe. In another effort, the Huerfano/Las Animas Area Council of Governments will use a $36,653 Rural Development grant and $640,406 from other government and private sources to help up to 10 low-income families in Las Animas and Huerfano counties. The additional funding is through a CDBG, revolving loan funds, and other local entities.
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.