What does this program do?
This program assists low-income communities with initial planning and development of applications for USDA Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal direct loan/grant and loan guarantee programs.
Who may apply?
- Most state and local governmental entities
- Nonprofit organizations
- Federally recognized tribes
What is an eligible area?
- Rural areas and towns with populations of 10,000 or less. Check eligible addresses
- Federally recognized tribal lands
NOTE: The area must also have a median household income below the poverty line or less than 80 percent of the statewide non-metropolitan median household income
How may the funds be used?
- Grants may be used to pay part of the costs of developing a complete application for USDA Rural Development Water & Waste Disposal direct loan/grant and loan guarantee programs.
What are the terms for grants?
- Grants may not be used to pay for work already completed.
- For projects eligible under several programs, the amount of the pre-development or SEARCH grant will be subtracted from the total grant eligibility as determined in underwriting for the water or waste disposal project.
- These grants do not have to be paid back if the application for the USDA direct loan or loan/grant combination is not successful.
- Grants are based on demonstrated need and subject to the availability of funds.
- Partnerships with other federal, state and local entities are encouraged, and grants are awarded only when the applicant cannot afford to borrow the needed funds.
Is there a maximum grant amount?
Maximum of $30,000 or 75 percent of the predevelopment planning costs.
Are matching funds required?
Yes, at least 25 percent of the project cost must come from the applicant or third-party sources. In-kind contributions do not count toward this minimum.
How do we get started?
- Applications for this program are accepted year round through your local RD office.
- Program resources are available online (includes forms needed, guidance, certifications, etc.).
Who can answer questions?
- Help is always available through your local RD office.
- Participating non-profit associations also offer assistance and training.
What governs this program?
- Code of Federal Regulations, 7 CFR 1780
- Agricultural Act of 2014
2022 Vermont and New Hampshire Application Cycle
State Pool Deadlines (competitive):
Grant applications received until – December 17, 2021
National Pool Deadlines (more competitive):
Grant applications received until – April 15, 2022
The Vermont/ New Hampshire jurisdiction strongly encourages the use of RD Apply, our new electronic intake system. PPG's are limited to the maximum of $25,000 or 75% of total project costs, whichever is less. SEARCH limited to maximum of $30,000 with no match required (Fact Sheet). A complete online application will also include the uploading of the following documents on RD Apply:
- Draft Engineering Agreement
- For non-profit corporations, please also attach: Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws and Secretary of State Standing.
- Audited Financial Statements (one year for municipal entities, three years for non-profit corporations)
- Notice of intent to file application. See the directions for Public Informational Meeting.
- If you have not already secured a DUNS number (Data Universal Numbering System), you will as part of applying for this grant. This is a unique nine-character identification number assigned by the commercial company Dun & Bradstreet. There is no charge for this number and you can receive it immediately by calling 1-800-333-0505 or 1-800-234-3867 or 1-800-705-5711
- Once you have secured your DUNS number, you will need to register on SAM (System for Award Management). See the Directions for SAM Registration.
Grant Eligibility: Eligibility is dependent on population size and area income. Contact your area specialist with questions about your community's eligibility.
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 valuable time in your application.
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.
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