AMHERST, MA, Dec. 16, 2022 – 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 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.
“With Under Secretary Torres’ announcement, nearly $250,000 in grants that have been awarded to Tribal and community support organizations in Connecticut and Massachusetts provide important opportunities to off-set costs and improve services for thousands of Southern New England residents,” said Scott J. Soares, USDA Rural Development State Director for Southern New England. “Thanks to the commitment of the awardees and the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA Rural Development has been uniquely empowered to provide assistance in ways that no other federal agency can.”
The four projects, two in Massachusetts and two in Connecticut, that have received awards will address the needs of historically underserved and underrepresented populations in Southern New England include:
- Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut will use this Rural Development Community Facility Disaster Program grant for $63,100 to purchase and install an emergency backup generator for their public works department building. The new generator will replace the current generator which is outdated and failing inspections.
- Latham Centers Inc. will use a $75,000 Community Facility Disaster Program grant to provide funding toward the expansion of the residential campus health, fitness, vocational and community center. Latham Centers is a nationally accredited residential treatment center in Brewster, Massachusetts providing therapeutic, clinical, educational, and occupational services to individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome. This residential therapeutic school provides treatment services to approximately 45 students, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
- Rebuilding Together Litchfield County, currently the sole organization providing housing rehabilitation and repair services at no-cost to low-income homeowners in Litchfield County Connecticut, is using a $66,829 Rural Development Housing Preservation Program grant for a one-year project that addresses living conditions in existing single-family housing in Litchfield County, Connecticut.
- Community Action Pioneer Valley provides homeowner assistance to facilitate home repairs essential to address unsafe, unhealthy, and/or substandard conditions. The $42,857 Housing Preservation Program grant will aid Franklin County Massachusetts low-income households, focusing on those repairs that are currently preventing weatherization of their homes. This project will improve the health and safety of participating households with the added benefit of leveraging weatherization funds to reduce the household energy burden.
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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