The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Friday that four Vermont organizations received a total of $250,000 in Rural Development Housing Preservation Grants to help rural families repair and rehabilitate their homes. Southwestern Vermont Community Action Program, the Vermont Center for Independent Living, Northeast Employment and Training Organization, and Rural Edge each received a grant.
"Lower-income rural families often have difficulty just meeting their daily living expenses, and they don’t have enough income for housing upkeep and maintenance," said USDA Rural Development New Hampshire and Vermont State Director Ted Brady. "This USDA program provides funding to qualified organizations that help these families make essential repairs, often to remove safety and health hazards, so the families can stay there. The program can also help lower their future housing costs through energy efficiency and weatherization improvements."
Southwestern Vermont Community Action Program and the Vermont Center for Independent Living each received a $25,000 Housing Preservation Grant to assist 20 Vermont families make essential improvements to their homes.
Northeast Employment and Training Organization and Gilman Housing Trust/ Rural Edge Inc. each received a $100,000 Housing Preservation Grant to help a total of 45 families living in Orleans, Essex and Caledonia counties make essential repairs and energy efficient improvements to their homes. The two Northeast Kingdom organizations were able to access these funds thanks to a provision of the 2014 Farm Bill authored by U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy and supported by Vermont’s Congressional Delegation extending the Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) Zone. The designation provides five regions of the country, including the three Northeastern-most counties of Vermont – Caledonia, Essex and Orleans -- additional grant resources through USDA Rural Development.
In a joint statement, Leahy, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch said: "These are lifeline investments to improve housing and assist low-income Vermonters across the state. The Northeast Kingdom’s REAP Zone helped to make two of these grants possible and continues to show this is a program that works to build our economy and provide assistance in the NEK. "
USDA Rural Development’s Housing Preservation Grant Program provides assistance to very-low and low-income homeowners to repair and rehabilitate their homes. Assistance is also available to rental property owners to repair and rehabilitate their units providing they agree to make such units available to very-low and low-income families.
President Obama's historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his 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, through its RD mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $206.2 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas. For more information on Rural Development visit the Vermont/New Hampshire Rural Development website (www.rurdev.usda.gov/nh-vtHome.html) or contact USDA RD at (802) 828-6000.