ZAPATA, Texas, Dec. 16, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small announced today that USDA is investing $15 million to expand access to housing and water infrastructure for underserved people who live and work in rural communities in Texas. USDA is investing in 15 projects that will create economic opportunities and improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across the state.
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.
“Every person in America deserves a fair shot in accessing well-built affordable homes and safe water and wastewater systems to thrive no matter where they live,” Torres Small said. “Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA remains committed to partnering with the people of rural America and with leaders like Representative Henry Cuellar to help get critical resources to the people in rural places who need them most. Today’s investments are an example of this important work.”
USDA is making the investments through five programs specifically designed to help people and communities in rural Texas. These programs are Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grants, Community Facilities Disaster Grant Program, Housing Preservation Grants, Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants and Water and Waste Disposal Grants to Alleviate Health Risks on Tribal Lands and Colonias.
Torres Small made the announcement today at the Siesta Shores Water Control and Improvement District in Zapata County. The district is receiving a $1 million Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant to purchase a filter upgrade along with new raw water pumps and electrical wiring. It also will install six-inch raw water piping and fittings to reach the deeper parts of the community’s water source, Falcon Lake.
Torres Small also announced that the County of Zapata is receiving a $1 million Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant to build a low water level intake structure with a concrete pad and ramp to support a pumping system at low water levels. Funds will be used to purchase and install new electrical pumps. The upgrades will ensure that the system can provide water during droughts to people living in Zapata County and residents of the Zapata Water Control and Improvement District.
These projects reflect the many ways USDA Rural Development addresses economic development, infrastructure and social service needs for rural residents and communities.
Other examples include:
- University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley will use a $174,845 Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grants to help deliver technical assistance to women and Hispanic people living in rural South Texas who are members of cooperatives or who want to form cooperatives. Technical assistance will be delivered face-to-face or remotely through group trainings and one-to-one counseling sessions.
- Fort Hood Habitat for Humanity will use a $350,000 Housing Preservation Grant to repair approximately 20 homes in the rural areas of Bell, Coryell, Falls, Milam and Lampasas counties. Rural Development will partner with the Texas Veterans Commission, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity.
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 our website at 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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