U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that recipients in 45 states, the Western Pacific and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico will receive grants to make housing repairs and improve housing conditions for limited-income rural residents. Acting Undersecretary for Rural Development Doug O'Brien announced the selections on Vilsack's behalf.
In Delaware, a $50,000 grant has been awarded to Sussex County Council and Kent County Levy Court.
"Providing safe, reliable housing to rural residents is key to maintaining stable communities and creating jobs," O'Brien said. "USDA has developed strategic partnerships with tribes, community organizations and nonprofit groups to improve the living conditions for thousands of rural residents."
Funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development's Housing Preservation Grant program. Funds are provided to intermediaries such as local governments, public agencies, federally recognized Indian Tribes, and nonprofit, faith-based and community organizations. These organizations then distribute the grants to homeowners and owners of multifamily rental properties or cooperative dwellings who rent to low- and very-low-income residents. Funds are not directly provided to eligible homeowners by USDA.
Grants may be used to make general repairs, such as installing or improving plumbing, or providing or enhancing access to people with disabilities. Funds may also be used to make homes more energy efficient.
O'Brien said the announcement is another reason why Congress must get a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill passed as soon as possible. Farm Bill programs are important to the economic vitality of rural America, and a comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy, he added.