PHOENIX, Feb. 15, 2023 – USDA Rural Development Arizona State Director Charlene Fernandez today announced that USDA is providing nearly $66 million to improve access to jobs, health care, and infrastructure for people in Arizona’s historically underserved communities across the Rural Partners Network (RPN).
“People in Arizona’s rural and remote communities are some of the most inventive, resilient, and creative people in our state,” Fernandez said. “Some of that innovation is borne out of necessity from limited opportunity. The Biden-Harris Administration and USDA, through the Rural Partners Network, are committed to connecting these same rural neighbors to resources they can access right at home to make their communities bloom and prosper.”
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.
Seventeen projects in Arizona are funded under today’s announcement. For example:
- The Local First Arizona Foundation will use a $136,610 Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant to develop strategic plans for the communities of Duncan, Springerville, Hayden, and the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Bylas. The plans will focus on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring equitable access to community programming and benefits, and reducing the impacts of climate change and pollution.
- Sun Life Family Health Center, Inc. will use a $52,579,000 Community Facilities Loan Guarantee to construct a new healthcare facility to be built in Casa Grande. The new facility will provide multiple services in one location to improve patient care in this medically underserved location.
- International Sonoran Desert Alliance received a $268,236 Rural Business Development Grant to expand the Ajo Business Support Center and provide business services and training. The new center will promote economic development and job creation. This project is expected to assist 65 local businesses, entrepreneurs, or business startups, while saving twenty jobs and creating four new employment opportunities.
Today’s announcement is part of a national announcement in which USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small announced $262 million in funding for 68 projects total in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Puerto Rico. She also 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. 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.
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.
For more information on RPN, visit Rural.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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