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USDA Rural Development Maine Announces a $5 million Emergency Rural Health Care Grant to Wabanaki Public Health & Wellness on National Rural Health Day

Nicole Howell
Release Date

Investment will Aid Maine Tribes with Addiction Recovery Services


MILLINOCKET, Maine, Nov. 17, 2022 – – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Maine State Director Rhiannon Hampson joined tribal leaders and partners in announcing that USDA has awarded a $5 million Community Facilities Emergency Rural Health Care grant to Wabanaki Public Health & Wellness on National Rural Health Day, November 17, 2022. 

This grant will assist the Center for Wabanaki Health and Recovery, a department within Wabanaki Public Health & Wellness, move into the next stage of development to solve regional healthcare issues, focusing on those exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

USDA Rural Development Maine State Director Rhiannon C. Hampson said, “We are so happy to celebrate this incredible investment coming home to Maine. This Emergency Rural Health Care Grant award is important to us for a variety of reasons - the most significant being the opportunity it offers USDA Rural Development to “walk the talk” in recognizing the powerful contributions the Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness team is making to their community.”

"It is important to acknowledge that Native and Indigenous wellness is long overdue in being recognized as a priority issue in America,” said Hampson. “There is a significant disparity in health outcomes for Tribal members and addressing this now is a critical part of the equity and justice work that needs to be done. We are humbled to move that work forward in large and small ways.”

In addition to National Rural Health Day, November is also Native American Heritage Month. This month is dedicated to the exploration of the heritage, culture, and experiences of Indigenous People.

The Center for Wabanaki Healing and Recovery, also known as the Healing Lodge, opened its doors in November 2021 to address the treatment and recovery needs for those suffering from substance use disorder within its communities. This rural recovery infrastructure is based on indigenous methods of healing focused on the whole health and wellbeing of individuals and the five Wabanaki communities of Maine.

The Center will offer everything from medication-assisted treatment to transitional housing, medicine walks cultivating traditional foods, childcare, telemedicine and connecting with employers. The Rural Development funding will provide staff support, further renovations, and additional programming.

The Biden-Harris Administration made these funds available in the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Programs 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 the 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, 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.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.