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USDA Invests $820,000 to Improve Equitable Access to Jobs, Business Opportunities, Education, Health Care and Housing for Rural People

Meredith Mingledorff
Release Date
Nov 24, 2021

Investments Will Help More Than 3,600 People in Some of the State’s Most Disadvantaged Areas

LINCOLN, Nebr., Nov. 24, 2021 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Acting State Director Kim Martini today announced that the Department is investing $819,500 to improve equitable access to jobs, business opportunities, education, housing and health care for people who live and work in rural areas.

“Access to modern infrastructure is foundational to the continued success of rural communities,” Martini said. “Equitable health care, education, and housing improve access to jobs, business opportunities, and reduces the digital divide between rural and urban. The projects being announced today build on the historic investments made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act, helping America to ‘Build Back Better.’”


  • Rebuilding Together, Inc. is receiving a $112,701 Rural Cooperative Development Initiative Grant to develop the capacity of ten rural non-profit community-based housing organizations across the country. These recipients will undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development in the form of technical assistance, training, and financial assistance to help strengthen the organizational capacity of rural areas.
  • Nebraska Indian Community College is receiving a $157,605 Tribal College Initiative Grant to build a 13,400 square-foot parking lot for the new research center on the Santee Reservation. Driveway, sidewalk and 235 feet of concrete curb and gutter will also be constructed. This project will benefit 1,023 students, faculty, and staff.
  • Little Priest Tribal College is receiving a $149,286 Tribal College Initiative Grant to help purchase equipment, make infrastructure repairs, and implement new safety features. Improvements include a new roof and furnishings and building a ramp to accommodate individuals with disabilities. Additional improvements include repairs to the sidewalk and front step of the on-campus dormitory. Equipment purchases include a new small tractor, a pull mower, and a snow blower to keep up with ground maintenance needs throughout the school year. This project will benefit 774 students, faculty, and staff.
  • Rebuilding Together, Platte Valley East, Inc. is receiving a $112,454 Housing Preservation Grant to assist with essential home and rental rehabilitation including siding, window and door replacement, paint, plumbing repairs, porch repairs and landscaping. Housing structural conditions provided by the county assessor identified 912 housing units in “fair” condition and additional 62 units in “poor” condition. These housing structures will be the target of this project over the next five years.
  • The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska is receiving a $112,454 Housing Preservation Grant to help the Winnebago Tribe Senior Home provide home repair assistance to low-income individuals and families. Repair assistance includes heating/cooling systems, weatherization improvements such as exterior doors, windows, siding, roofing, insulation and weather-stripping, and emergency health and safety repairs and improvements. This project will benefit 40 homeowners and renters.
  • The University of Nebraska Board of Regents is receiving a $175,000 Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant to help provide technical assistance to socially disadvantaged groups. Cooperatives will be explored with Hispanic and Native American populations to expand growing vegetable. A home healthcare cooperative will also be explored.

Today’s investments are part of a larger announcement recently made by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack that highlighted 218 investments across six programs specifically designed to help people and businesses in rural areas. These programs include Tribal College Initiative Grants, Rural Community Development Initiative Grants, Housing Preservation Grants, Delta Health Care Grants, Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grants and Water and Waste Disposal Grants. The 218 awards, totaling more than $86 million in investments, are being made in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Western Pacific.

The funding reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development helps rural residents, businesses and communities address economic development, infrastructure and social service needs. It will help low-income people make health and safety repairs to their homes. It also will help colleges that serve Tribal populations upgrade campus buildings and services.

The timing of the awards to Nebraska Indian Community College, Little Priest Tribal College, and the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska coincides with Native American Heritage Month, which is celebrated every November to highlight the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, contributions and histories of Native people. It helps raise awareness about the unique challenges Native people face, and the ways in which Tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.

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/ne. USDA Rural Development is prioritizing projects that will support key priorities under the Biden-Harris Administration to help rural America build back better and stronger. Key priorities include combatting the COVID-19 pandemic; addressing the impacts of climate change; and advancing equity in rural America. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/priority-points. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.