What does this program do?
This program provides funding to assist in the development of essential community facilities in rural communities with extreme unemployment and severe economic depression.
An essential community facility is one that provides an essential service to the local community, is needed for the orderly development of the community, serves a primarily rural area, and does not include private, commercial or business undertakings.
Who may apply for this program?
- Public bodies
- Federally-recognized Tribes
What is an eligible area?
- Rural areas including; cities, villages, townships, towns and federally-recognized Tribal Lands, with no more than 20,000 residents that have a “Not Employed Rate” greater than 19.5%
- The median household income of a community being served must be below 90% of the state non-metropolitan median household income for grant eligibility
- Grant assistance is based on a graduated scale determined by population, median household income, total project costs and financial need
How may funds be used?
To construct, enlarge or improve community facilities for health care, public safety and public service. Grants may be made in combination with other financial assistance such as a Community Facilities direct or guaranteed loan, applicant contribution or funding from other sources.
Examples of essential community facilities include:
- Health Care: hospitals, medical clinics, dental clinics, nursing homes, assisted-living facilities
- Public Facilities: city/town/village halls, courthouses, airport hangers, street improvements
- Community Support Services: child care centers, community centers, fairgrounds, transitional housing
- Public Safety: fire halls, police stations, prisons, jails, police vehicles, fire trucks, public works vehicles and equipment
- Educational: museums, libraries, private schools
- Utility: telemedicine, distance learning
- Local Food Systems: community gardens, food pantries, community kitchens, food banks, food hubs, greenhouses, kitchen appliances
- For a complete list, see Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 3570.7
What kind of funding is available?
- Grants up to 75% of eligible project cost based on need and funding availability
- Applicant must be eligible for grant assistance, which is determined by the population and median household income of the service area
- Grant funds must be available
Are there additional requirements?
- Applicants must be unable to finance the project from their own resources and/or through commercial credit at reasonable rates and terms
- Facilities must serve the rural area where they are/will be located
- Projects must demonstrate substantial community support
- Environmental review must be completed and determined to be acceptable
- Priorities are given to projects related to public health and safety, energy efficiency and education
How do we get started?
- Contact your local office to discuss your specific project
- Applications for this program are accepted through your local office year round
- Program resources are available online (includes forms, guidance and certifications)
Who can answer questions?
Contact your local office.
What governs this program?
Code of Federal Regulation; 7 CFR 3015, and 7 USD 1926 (a) (20) (B).
Why does USDA Rural Development do this?
This program helps very small, financially distressed rural communities extend and improve community facilities and public safety. These improvements save tax dollars, improve the natural environment and increase economic development as manufacturers and other types of businesses can locate or expand operations in the rural communities.
NOTE: Because citations and other information may be subject to change, please always consult the program instructions listed in the section above titled "What Law Governs this Program?" You may also contact your local office for assistance.
NOTE: If state specific forms are not shown above, please refer to the application materials listed below to start the process of applying. Please ensure that your state is selected in the dropdown menu above to find the State Office contact information for this program and speak to a Community Programs Specialist before attempting to fill out any forms or applications. This will save you valuable time in the process.
Application checklist for use with this program:
RD Form 1942-40, Checklist - Public Body (pdf) or
There are no other additional requirements at the national level. If there are additional state-specific requirements they will be listed above.
Pam Bensley, Director
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