USDA seeks grant applications to improve rural housing

Jun 8, 2012
by WLJ

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that applications for grants are being accepted to provide assistance to low- and verylow-income rural residents to repair their homes.

USDA Rural Development is offering Housing Preservation Grants to intermediaries such as town or county governments, public agencies, federally recognized Indian Tribes, and non-profit and faithbased organizations. The grants are then distributed to qualified homeowners or owners of multi-family rental properties or cooperative dwellings who rent to low- and very-low-income residents. USDA does not provide funding directly to homeowners under this program.

Grants can be used to weatherize and repair existing structures, install or improve plumbing or provide access to people with disabilities. Housing Preservation Grants help bring job growth and stability to lowincome communities while improving the living conditions of rural Americans.

For example, in 2009, Cocopah Indian Housing and Development in Somerton, AZ, received a USDA Housing Preservation Grant to install new roofs and replace heating and cooling systems with high-efficiency units. Cocopah Indian Housing and Development is a political subdivision of the Cocopah Indian Tribe in Yuma County.

For fiscal year 2012, US- DA may award up to $4.1 million in competitive grants through the Housing Preservation Grant program. Applications are due June 25, 2012. For more information on how to apply, please see page 27179 of the May 9, 2012 Federal Register or go to www.gpo. gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-05- 09/html/2012-11036.htm 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 Vilsack—the President is committed to using federal resources more efficiently to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working 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 $165 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 areas. — WLJ