SEARCH - Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households in Indiana


What does this program do?

This program helps very small, financially distressed rural communities with predevelopment feasibility studies, design and technical assistance on proposed water and waste disposal projects.

Who may apply?

  • Most state and local governmental entities
  • Nonprofits
  • Federally recognized tribes

What is an eligible area?

Areas to be served must be rural and financially distressed:

  • Rural areas with a population of 2,500 or less
  • Have a median household income below the poverty line or less than 80 percent of the statewide non-metropolitan median household income based on latest Census data

How may the funds be used?

To pay predevelopment planning costs, including:

  • Feasibility studies to support applications for funding water or waste disposal projects
  • Preliminary design and engineering analysis
  • Technical assistance for the development of an application for financial assistance

Are there additional requirements?

The predevelopment planning costs must be related to a proposed project that meets the following requirements:

  • Construct, enlarge, extend or improve rural water, sanitary sewage, solid waste disposal and storm wastewater disposal facilities
  • Construct or relocate public buildings, roads, bridges, fences or utilities, and to make other public improvements necessary for the successful operation or protection of facilities
  • Relocate private buildings, roads, bridges, fences, or utilities, and other private improvements necessary for the successful operation or protection of facilities

How do we get started?

  • Applications for this program are accepted year round through your local RD office.
  • Program resources are available online (i.e., forms, guidance, certifications, etc.).

What governs this program?

  • Code of Federal Regulations, Title 7, Part 1774 - 7 CFR 1774
  • Section 306 of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act

Why does USDA Rural Development do this?

To help very small, financially distressed rural communities extend and improve water and waste treatment facilities that serve local households and businesses.

NOTE: Please select your state in the dropdown menu above to find the state office contact information and speak to a program specialist before attempting to fill out any forms or applications. This will save you time in completing your application.

National Architect Requirements:

There are no other architect, engineering or environmental requirements at the national level. If there are additional state-specific requirements they will be listed above. 

There are no other additional requirements at the national level. If there are additional state-specific requirements they will be listed above.

There are currently no events scheduled.

Indiana State Office
5975 Lakeside Boulevard, Indianapolis, Indiana 46278-1996
Call us at 317-290-3100 TDD#317-295-5799


Rochelle Owen
Community Programs Director
rochelle.owen@usda.gov
(317) 295-5767

Krueger Pfister
Community Program Specialist
krueger.pfister@usda.gov
(317) 295-5794


Columbia City Area Office
788 W. Connexion Way, Suite E, Columbia City, IN 46725-1047
Call us at 260-244-6266 EXT #4


Laura Hamann (Northern Director)
laura.hamann@in.usda.gov
260-244-6266 Ext: 122

Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Elkhart, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Miami, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells, and Whitley counties.


North Vernon Area Office
2600 Highway 7 North, North Vernon, IN 47265
Call us at 812-346-3411 EXT #4


Marcia Comer
marcia.comer@usda.gov
(812) 953-4164

Charlene Hale
charlene.hale@usda.gov
(812) 953-4147

Bartholomew, Clark, Dearborn, Decatur, Floyd, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson, Ohio, Ripley, Scott, Shelby, Switzerland, and Washington counties.


Bloomfield Area Office
104 County Road 70 East, Suite C Bloomfield, IN 47424
Call us at 812-384-4634 EXT #4


Cynthia Ferguson
cynthia.fergsuon@usda.gov
(812) 792-5020

Brown, Clay, Daviess, Greene, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Morgan, Owen, Sullivan, and Vigo counties.


Muncie Area Office
3641 N Briarwood Lane, Muncie, IN 47304
Call us at 765-747-5531 EXT #4


Michael Cunningham
michael.cunningham@usda.gov
(765) 216-4065

Blackford, Delaware, Fayette, Grant, Hamilton, Hancock, Henry, Howard, Jay, Madison, Marion, Randolph, Rush, Tipton, Union, and Wayne counties.


Crawfordsville Area Office
2032 Lebanon Road, Crawfordsville, IN 47933-2143
Call us at 765-362-0405 EXT #4


John Magee
john.magee@usda.gov
(765) 362-0405

Benton, Boone, Clinton, Fountain, Hendricks, Montgomery, Parke, Putnam, Tippecanoe, Vermillion, and Warren counties.


Jasper Area Office
1484 Executive Blvd, Jasper, IN 47546-9300
Call us at 812-482-1171 EXT #4


Craig McGowan (Southern Director)
craig.mcgowan@usda.gov
(812) 817-3443

Crawford, Dubois, Gibson, Harrison, Orange, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh, and Warrick counties.


Knox Area Office
1410 South Heaton St. Knox, IN 46534-2314
Call us at 574-772-3066 EXT #4


David Hacker
david.d.hacker@usda.gov
(574) 772-3066, Ext. 127

Carroll, Cass, Fulton, Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Marshall, Newton, Porter, Pulaski, St. Joseph, Starke, and White counties.