USDA Deputy Under Secretary Doug O'Brien today announced that the Department is accepting applications for grants to improve health care services in the Delta Region.
“This funding will help provide enhanced health care to Delta residents and provide care for people who don’t have access to quality services,” O’Brien said. “Today I am announcing the availability of more than $5.7 million that will be competitively awarded.”
The grants will be provided through the Delta Health Care Services Grant Program, which helps communities of up to 50,000 people address unmet health needs. Eligible applicants include higher education institutions, health and research institutes, economic development entities, health care cooperatives or consortia of at least three such entities in the Delta Region. This area includes 252 counties and parishes in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.
USDA is partnering with the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) to deliver the program this year, and DRA is contributing $300,000 to the grant pool. Grants of $50,000 to $1 million are available from USDA. The maximum for DRA grants is $100,000.
Funds may be used to develop health care services, educational programs and job training programs. For more information about how to apply, see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-14/pdf/2014-08363.pdf page 20857 of the April 14, 2014 Federal Register Applications are due June 13, 2014.
In September 2013, Delta State University, in Cleveland, Miss., received a $477,000 Delta Health Care Services grant to provide mental health intervention services to the community, specifically to children and youth. The university is also using the grant to train graduate students in counseling education.
USDA has other programs that complement the services that can be offered through the Delta Health Care Services Grant Program. In December 2013, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA plans to invest up to $50 million to increase access to mental health care in rural areas during the next three years. The funding will be used to construct, expand or equip rural mental health facilities. It will be provided through Rural Development’s Community Facilities direct loan program.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.