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Maximiliano J. Trujillo-Ortega, USDA Rural Development State Director for Puerto Rico Announces $ 1 Million in Grants now available to Assist Puerto Rico Communities Impacted by Presidentially Declared Disasters

Release Date

The program will help qualified nonprofit housing and community development organization in Puerto Rico

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2024 – USDA Rural Development State Director for Puerto Rico Maximilano J. Trujillo-Ortega today announced $1 million in Grants now available to assist Puerto Rico communities impacted by Presidential declared disasters.

 Trujillo-Ortega made the announcement from the White House where RPN convened community leaders and organizations representatives working on behalf of their communities to create opportunities and improve people quality of life. This event aimed to highlight the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic investment and impacts in rural communities throughout America with the legislation of the American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act, and the CHIPS and Science Act.

During the event Trujillo-Ortega indicated that USDA is committed to support rural communities improving access to resources to create economic opportunities, improve infrastructure and communitive development. The RPN RCDIG grants aims to support rural communities within Puerto Rico RPN to access federal funding to address community and economic challenges in areas where a Presidential declaration of a major disaster was issued.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack authorized $1,000,000 under the Disaster Assistance Fund to be utilized for assisting qualified intermediary organizations located in Puerto Rico, to carry out financial and technical assistance to improve housing, community facilities, and economic development projects in RPN’s designated areas. This grant requires an intermediary organization to provide financial or technical assistance to recipients, and in turn recipients provide support to their communities.

“It’s impossible to measure the devasting impact hurricanes have had on people and communities across Puerto Rico, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “For as long as it takes, the Biden-Harris Administration will make every resource available so they can continue to recover and built a brighter future. By working together and identifying flexible funding opportunities, USDA and our partners will support opportunities to help people rebuild their home, businesses, and lives, and are better prepared for the next storm. Today’s announcement is just one way USDA has been partnering with Puerto Rico’s community leaders and organizations to support in the long-term recovery of impacted communities.”

This announcement marks the second anniversary since the Biden-Harris Administration launched RPN (and the 1st year of launching in Puerto Rico) to ensure people in the historical underserve communities receive their fair share of funding from federal agencies.

Trujillo-Ortega indicated “through this opportunity USDA Rural Development Puerto Rico is awarding a maximum grant of $250,000 per intermediary, with the goal of supporting the 15 municipalities that conform the RPN footprint in Puerto Rico by providing capacity-building assistance to improve housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects.”

The three RPN Community Networks in Puerto Rico are the Southwest Community Network, the Central Mountain Community Network, and the East Community Network. The 15 municipalities are Mayaguez, Maricao, Guánica, Utuado, Jayuya, Orocovis, Ciales, Villalba, Ponce, Adjuntas, Barranquitas, Coamo, Fajardo, Ceiba, Naguabo and El Yunque National Rainforest.

Community networks receive support from full-time USDA 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 apply for funding. In addition to USDA staff, there are staff at 24 other federal agencies supporting RPN and making resources across the government easier to access for people in rural communities.

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 and Investing in America agenda. The Rural Prosperity Interagency Policy Council, co-led by the White House Domestic Policy Council and USDA, advises the RPN program and ensures rural voices are heard and reflected in national policies that will benefit all people in rural communities.

USDA 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. Visit the Rural Data Gateway to learn how and where these investments are impacting rural America. To subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit the GovDelivery Subscriber Page. You can follow us in our X account @RD_PuertoRico .


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