KINGSPORT, Tenn., April 15, 2015 – Agriculture Under Secretary Lisa Mensah today announced the selection of 31 community-based organizations in 17 states and the District of Columbia for grants to help small rural communities create jobs and boost economic development. The grants are being made available through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) program.
“These grants bring increased economic opportunities to rural residents and communities by strengthening the capacity of the regional organizations that serve them,” Mensah said during a visit today to Kingsport, Tenn. “They help organizations that are experienced in economic development create more job opportunities for rural residents. RCDI grants are an important part of USDA’s ongoing efforts to address rural poverty. They help boost growth in our most economically vulnerable rural communities, including towns in Appalachia and Native American reservations.”
USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel said, “This important grant will make a difference in the lives of some of Maine’s most remote senior residents- Maine’s Tribal elders and seniors living on North Haven and Chebeague Island- through helping to ensure that they have access to quality housing that is safe, energy-efficient, and affordable. By ensuring quality housing, these residents can remain in the communities they love, close to family and friends.”
Genesis Community Loan fund will utilize USDA Rural Development RCDI Grant funds in the amount of $249,900 to provide training and technical assistance to the Maliseet, Micmac, and Penobscot Tribes, as well as Southern Harbor Eldercare Services on North Haven Island, and Island Commons on Chebeague Island to address the critical need for safe, energy-efficient, and affordable senior housing. This funding will assist the Genesis Community Loan fund in leveraging over $4 million in project funds and generate at least 20 units of energy-efficient and affordable quality housing.
Rural Community Development Initiative grants support rural housing, community facilities and economic development projects. Funds may be used to develop child care facilities; provide education, technical assistance and training; conduct strategic planning, and conduct other projects that help local communities develop their capacity. Eligible grant recipients are non-profit housing and community development organizations.
These RCDI grants are part of USDA’s efforts to strengthen rural economies. They also support the Obama Administration’s POWER+ initiative. POWER+, which stands for Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization, is a coordinated effort among multiple federal agencies, including USDA, to invest in coal communities, workers and technology. POWER+’s goal is to target federal economic and workforce development programs and resources to help communities negatively impacted by changes in the coal industry and power sector.
USDA is awarding $6.3 million in grants for 31 projects in today’s announcement. Funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of their grant agreements. View the list of recipients.
Seven states, including Tennessee, receiving support through this announcement are part of USDA’s StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity initiative, which coordinates USDA assistance in the Nation’s most economically challenged rural areas. Through StrikeForce, USDA works with community partners to feed kids, assist farmers, secure safe homes, conserve natural resources and create jobs. USDA StrikeForce teams are working with more than 500 community partners to address rural poverty in more than 800 counties in 21 states and Puerto Rico.
President Obama’s historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities.