WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced that USDA is providing $262 million to improve access to jobs, health care and infrastructure for people in historically underserved communities across the Rural Partners Network (RPN).
“The Biden-Harris Administration and USDA are committed to ensuring that people in rural areas have every opportunity to succeed – and that they can find those opportunities right at home in rural America,” Under Secretary Torres Small said. “From renewable energy and new jobs to clean water and quality health care, the Rural Partners Network is connecting rural people to resources that will help them create new and lasting prosperity on their own terms.”
"We're excited to be among the first states to launch the Rural Partners Network, and we've already had successes in our community networks," said Dr. Trina N. George, State Director for Mississippi. "By working with our federal partners, we can continue building on these successes and combat the healthcare and economic disparities in the region."
The Biden-Harris Administration established RPN to transform the way federal agencies partner with and serve rural people and places, including Native American communities. Led by USDA with support from more than 20 federal agencies and commissions, RPN is central to President Biden’s commitment to ensure all rural people can benefit from federal resources. This includes historic funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.
Torres Small announced the $262 million in funding while visiting with people and organizations in North Carolina participating in RPN. While there, she unveiled an annual report documenting RPN’s accomplishments in its first year and how the network is helping to shape investment strategies for rural communities.
The funding announced today will support 68 projects in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Puerto Rico.
The funding will create jobs for rural people and help them expand their businesses. It will provide affordable, well-built homes for seniors and low-income families in rural areas. It will help farmers and ranchers transition to clean energy and find new and better markets for their products. And it will give people in remote areas access to modern water and wastewater systems, and quality education and health care services.
For example, in Mississippi:
- The Delta Regional Authority will use a $1.4 million Delta Health Care Services Grant to provide technical assistance to improve health care access and services for people in counties that have had high poverty rates for decades.
- The Delta Care Hope Foundation will use a $50,000 Community Facilities Grant to help purchase equipment for Delta Care Hope Foundation's new facility. This equipment will help ensure access to quality service and care, teach effective social and interpersonal skills, and offer supportive community services.
- The Greenwood Leflore Consolidated School District will use a $50,000 Community Facilities Grant to help purchase two vehicles for the Greenwood Leflore Consolidated School District. The new vehicles will be used when assistance is needed for law enforcement related activities and ensure the school district is equipped with reliable vehicles to protect the campus.
Background: Rural Partners Network
Launched in April 2022 and expanded in November 2022, the Rural Partners Network is now active in 36 community networks in 10 states and Puerto Rico.
Community networks receive on-the-ground support from full-time federal staff who live and work locally. These staff members provide technical assistance based on each community’s needs, helping them navigate federal programs, build relationships and prepare successful applications for funding.
RPN communities also benefit from coordination through other federal efforts such as the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization and President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative. The Rural Prosperity Interagency Policy Council, co-led by the White House Domestic Policy Council and USDA, advises the RPN program and shares lessons learned through RPN for policy consideration. A team of Rural Desk Officers representing each participating federal agency or regional commission supports the RPN program and community networks.
For more information on RPN, visit Rural.gov.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In 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.
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.
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