MACHIPONGO, Va., Aug. 1, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small and USDA Rural Development State Director for Virginia Perry Hickman joined Congresswoman Elaine Luria today to announce nearly $1 million to purchase new emergency vehicles and upgrade an elementary school HVAC system for Northampton County. This critical investment was made possible through the USDA Rural Development Emergency Rural Health Care Grants program.
“Reliable emergency vehicles and modernized schools are basic needs for any community, and President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack know that people in rural communities deserve that access just as much as anyone,” Torres Small said. “Thanks to the leadership of Representative Luria, USDA has the resources to help rural community leaders afford to upgrade the vehicles and facilities that are so critical to the well-being of the millions of people living in small communities like Northampton County.”
“USDA used an all-hands-on-deck approach to create the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants program to address a variety of immediate health care needs and services in rural communities.” Hickman said. “With today’s investment, the county has the capability of being able to provide a more rapid response to the needs of the people who call Northampton County home.”
Northampton County will use the grant to purchase emergency medical service vehicles, an ambulance, quick response vehicle and heating ventilation air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. The new vehicles will help the county to improve response times and have additional time for cleaning and decontaminating each unit in between calls.
The new HVAC equipment will improve the indoor air quality. The county currently has a fleet of six vehicles, two county ambulances and four volunteer fire department units. Some vehicles are old with high mileage. The HVAC system at the elementary school is outdated and inefficient.
The Biden-Harris Administration made these funds available in the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants through its historic legislative package, the American Rescue Plan Act. The Act and this program are examples of the government’s ability to respond quickly to ensure every person and family has access to high-quality health care no matter their zip code.
USDA Rural Development promotes a healthy community and environment through the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants to make sure people, kids and families have access to the health care they need. The grants support the ability of rural communities to provide health care to the people and places in our country that often lack access.
Background: Emergency Rural Health Care Grants
Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021 to deliver immediate economic relief to people impacted by the pandemic. Within months after the Act’s passage, USDA responded quickly by making this funding available to ensure the long-term availability of rural health care services.
In August 2021, USDA made the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants available through the American Rescue Plan Act to help rural health care facilities, tribes and communities expand access to health care services and nutrition assistance.
The assistance is helping provide immediate relief to support rural hospitals, health care clinics and local communities. USDA is administering the funds through Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program.
Under 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. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In 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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