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USDA Invests More Than $460,000 in Grants to Create Economic Opportunities and Rehabilitate Homes for Underserved People in Rural Pennsylvania.

Daniel Blottenberger
Release Date

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director Bob Morgan announced today that USDA is investing $460,816 in grants to support three projects in rural Pennsylvania.

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. 

“Delivering economic development opportunities and housing for underserved communities is what we do at USDA Rural Development,” Morgan said. “Every project we fund is part of this mission to improve the quality of life in rural Pennsylvania.”

The three projects in Pennsylvania awarded grant funds today are listed below. 

  • The Schuylkill Community Action organization received a Housing Preservation Grant of $282,854 to conduct housing rehabilitation of owner-occupied very low-income residents in eligible areas of Schuylkill County. Schuylkill Community Action plans to repair 15 houses throughout the county. This project will help address health and safety hazards, increase energy efficiency, correct code violations, and improve accessibility, as needed. The funds are an essential tool and great incentive to the very low-income residents and the investment will go a long way to ensure that very low-income homeowners have a safe and decent home in which to live. 
  • Jenks Township in Forest County received a grant through the Appalachian Regional Commission of $117,407 to renovate and upgrade the historic train station into a visitor and welcome center for the Marienville Trail Hub. This facility will be the centerpiece of a Four-Season Trail Hub that is currently being built in Marienville. This trail hub will connect to the larger Knox and Kane trail system. This connection will give the community four seasons of recreational opportunities starting from one location and all having their own trail. Recreation has always been a large part of the local economy and with the addition of this trail hub it will provide entrepreneurs opportunities to develop new business or expand existing businesses. 
  • Keystone Development Center Inc. in Lancaster County received a Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant of $60,555 to provide technical assistance for the business development of cooperatives in rural Pennsylvania for the socially disadvantaged groups consisting of women flower and fiber farmers and a woman-owned dance arts business. Keystone Development Center (KDC) will work with 15 women fiber farmers to lay the foundation for a cooperative for flax growers, a cooperative flax mill, and preliminary work toward cooperative businesses in end-product fabrication and sales. The project with the 10 women of the Chesapeake Flower Exchange will result in a flower growers' cooperative owned and led by female flower growers in rural Maryland. In Meadville, Pennsylvania, KDC will work with a dance studio owner to conduct a feasibility analysis of a conversion from worker to owner and will engage the six current employees in cooperative education and capacity building. These cooperatives will enable women to unite in solidarity, provide self-help strategies, and form a network of mutual support to overcome barriers and increase their economic prosperity.


Today, 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.  

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. 

For example:

  • The Siesta Shores Water Control and Improvement District in Zapata County, Texas, 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.  
  • The Northern Border Regional Commission is receiving a $3 million Appalachian Regional Commission grant to support rural businesses’ growth and innovation, workforce development and to provide technical assistance to the outdoor recreation economy sector in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
  • The Housing Assistance Corporation of North Carolina is receiving a $278,980 Housing Preservation grant to rehabilitate housing owned or occupied by low- and very-low-income rural Americans in Henderson, Polk and Transylvania counties. 

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 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.

To subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit GovDelivery subscriber page. 

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.