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