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USDA Launches Pilot Program to Help People in Rural New Mexico Repair Homes Damaged By Forest Fires or Future Natural Disasters

Ernie Watson
Albuquerque, N.M.
Release Date

Department Expands Home Repair Loan and Grant Eligibility for People in Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas

WASHINGTON, July 18, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development New Mexico State Director Patricia Dominguez today announced that the Department is launching a pilot program to make it easier for people to access loans and grants to repair homes damaged by forest fires or future natural disasters. The homes must be located in eligible rural areas and presidentially declared disaster areas in states selected to participate in the pilot, which includes New Mexico.  

“The Biden-Harris Administration and USDA stand ready to deploy every resource at our disposal to help families and individuals recover and recuperate,” Dominguez said. “We are working hard to find solutions that better accommodate people impacted by natural disasters in rural areas across this state, to help them get the resources they need to rebuild their homes and their lives. The pilot program we are announcing today is a key example of this critical work and will hopefully create a blueprint for helping people in rural communities across the country recover from natural disasters.”

This USDA pilot program significantly expands eligibility for people seeking Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants to repair and rebuild their homes damaged in areas of presidentially declared disasters. 

As a part of this pilot, USDA is making a number of changes, including:

  • Lowering the minimum age from 62 to 18 for eligible homeowners.
  • Refinancing debt and reimbursing repair costs incurred as a result of the natural disaster and prior to the date of the application.
  • Financing costs to relocate mobile and manufactured homes.

Funds may be used in presidentially declared disaster areas that occurred since July 18, 2022, including:

  • Big Hole Fire
  • Calf Canyon Fire
  • Cook's Peak Fire
  • Hermit's Peak fire
  • McBride Fire
  • Nogal Canyon Fire

Funds may also be used in areas subject to future natural disasters in the next two years. 

Applications must be submitted by July of 2025 via Grants.gov or directly to the Rural Development State Office.

For more information on how to apply, call 505-761-4950 or visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/nm

Additional information is also available in the July 18 Federal Register.  
For more resources to support rural communities seeking disaster assistance, visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/page/rural-development-disaster-assistance

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. 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. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and 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.