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USDA Announces $1.9 Million to Expand Access to Rural Health Care In the Northern Michigan

Alec Lloyd
East Lansing
Release Date

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Rural Development State Director for Michigan Brandon Fewins today announced that USDA is investing $1,966,400 to expand access to health care across Northern Michigan.

“Many rural areas experienced severe challenges during the pandemic,” said Fewins.  “These funds will help repair and upgrade vehicles and facilities, increasing Northern Michigan’s resiliency.”

The Rogers City Area Senior and Community Center, in Presque Isle County, will use a $100,500 grant to replace a roof that has collapsed. The facility is a long-term gathering place for senior citizens seeking to maintain healthy lifestyles. The facility continued to operate nutrition programs through the COVID-19 global pandemic and served as an emergency shelter for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and socially distanced behavioral health services.

Roscommon County will use a $69,100 grant to purchase communications equipment for the county’s central dispatch department. The current equipment has reached the end of its useful lifespan and requires replacement to increase preparedness for future pandemic or medical surge events.

Crawford County will use a $249,100 grant for improvements to the senior center.  This was vital in mitigating the effects of COVID-19 on the senior population and these enhancements will further strengthen the community’s resiliency.

Tri-Township Ambulance, in Montmorency County, will use a $92,700 grant to purchase an ambulance that can safely transport patients with infectious diseases (e.g., COVID-19). This will support the organization's effort to prepare for future pandemics or medical surge events.

United Way of Northwest Michigan will use a $1 million grant to purchase equipment and renovate the interior of an existing office building in Grand Traverse County to serve as a dental clinic. The need for this facility was identified as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Rural communities saw undue impacts to small, often family-owned dental practices due to the workforce choosing to retire rather than return to work after the pandemic ended. This project is a collaboration between the dental training programs at the University of Michigan and the United Way of Northwest Michigan. It will focus on serving children and veterans who need dental treatment, and who have been unable to obtain it due to behavioral and other challenging conditions.

An additional $455,000 grant will be used to convert the lower level of the same building into a community center that provides “wrap around services” to families and individuals while receiving dental treatment. This investment will allow the community center to be fully built out and equipped to include areas for group therapy sessions, a food pantry, and shared office space for staff from the Department of Human Services, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, and the local intermediate school districts.

USDA is awarding $129 million in Emergency Rural Health Care Grants to improve health care facilities in rural towns across the nation. These grants will help 172 rural health care organizations expand critical services.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under 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.