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USDA Invests $102 Million to Create Economic Opportunities, Expand Access to Water Infrastructure and Rehabilitate Homes for Underserved Rural People Across the U.S.

Jessica Duerstine
Release Date

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small announced today that USDA is investing $102 million to expand access to housing and water infrastructure for underserved rural people who live and work in 47 states and American Samoa. The 263 projects in which USDA is investing will create economic opportunities and improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in rural America.  

The investments are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ensure that people living in rural America have equitable access to the infrastructure and economic opportunities they deserve. 

“USDA invests in rural America because we know a strong community is rooted in its people,” Torres Small said. “Thanks to the leadership of President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, USDA can help invest in opportunity and prosperity for all people, regardless of background or financial status, who make up the character and personality of our great country’s rural lands.”

Torres Small highlighted investments that USDA is making in 11 programs specifically designed to help people and communities in underserved rural areas. These programs are Water and Waste Disposal Grants to Alleviate Health Risks on Tribal Lands and Colonias, Appalachian Regional Commission Grants, Delta Health Care Grants, Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grants, Housing Preservation Grants, Rural Community Development Initiative Grants, Tribal College Initiative Grants, Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants, Rural and Native Alaskan Village Grants, Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants and Community Facilities Disaster Grant Program

The funding will benefit hundreds of thousands of people in 47 states and American Samoa. It reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development addresses economic development, infrastructure and social service needs for rural residents and communities.

In Maryland, ten grants totaling $663,200 were awarded, including:

  • Hancock Fire Company Inc. in Hancock, Maryland, is receiving a $53,700 Community Facilities Disaster Grant to purchase hoses, nozzles and battery-operated extraction equipment for the fire company located in Washington County. 
  • Hancock Rescue Squad Inc. is receiving a $79,500 Community Facilities Disaster Grant to purchase equipment including radios, with vehicle chargers and lapel microphones, and a vehicle with added cargo space to allow for additional equipment and enhanced medical intervention. The items will be vital during emergency rescue situations.
  • The town of Emmitsburg is receiving a $75,000 Community Facilities Disaster Grant to assist with costs associated with the town's street lighting upgrade project along Main Street and Seton Avenue in Frederick County, Maryland. 
  • Interfaith Service Coalition of Hancock is receiving a $75,000 Community Facilities Disaster Grant to purchase a generator and solar panels to guarantee the continuity of the services for the youth center. The center is located at one of its primary facilities, Martha's House and is a food source site, with a theatre in the lower level. The facility has been used as a cooling station when temperatures exceed 102 degrees and is used by both the public and firefighters and other first responders.

Six organizations are receiving Housing Preservation Grants. These grants will be used to repair the homes of low- and very-low-income residents. Funds will enable the recipient to offer low-income homeowners grants and/or low-interest loans for critical home repair projects designed to improve their living conditions. Because of this investment, homes repaired will then meet current property and safety standards. Charles County Commissioners and Rebuilding Together Anne Arundel are each receiving grants for $50,000. Garrett County Community Action Committee Inc., Habit Wicomico County, Rebuilding Together Kent County, and Shore Up Inc. are each receiving grants for $70,000.

“Ensuring the communities in rural Maryland have the resources they need to support critical housing needs and community services is a priority for us," said David Baker, USDA Rural Development State Director for Delaware and Maryland. "I'm delighted that we're able to continue this support with these recent grants awarded through the Community Facility Disaster Grants and Housing Preservation Grant programs."

The awards announced today are being made in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and American Samoa.

These investments are in addition to the recent expansion of the Rural Partners Network (RPN), which is central to President Biden’s commitment to ensure all rural people can benefit from federal resources. Led by USDA with support from more than 20 federal agencies and commissions, RPN is part of an all-of-government strategy to champion rural people and places, including Native American communities.

Under the leadership of 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

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

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.