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Ag Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding to Improve Rural Housing

Recipients Include Public Agencies, Private Non-profit Organizations, Tribes, and Owners of Rental and Cooperative Housing

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today selected recipients in 45 states, the Western Pacific and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for grants to make critical repairs and improve housing conditions for low- and very-low-income rural residents. Rural Development Acting Under Secretary Doug O’Brien announced the recipients today on Secretary Vilsack's behalf.

“Providing safe, reliable housing to rural residents is key to maintaining stable communities and creating jobs,” Vilsack said. “USDA has developed strategic partnerships with Tribes, community organizations and non-profit groups to improve the living conditions for thousands of rural residents.”

The support Vilsack is announcing today 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 non-profit, faith-based and community organizations. These organizations then distribute the grants to homeowners and owners of multi-family rental properties or cooperative dwellings who rent to low- and very-low-income residents.

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.

Today’s announcement includes a $38,860 grant to Bishop Sheen Ecumenical Housing Foundation, Inc., in Rochester, N.Y., to assist 12 very-low income households. The grant will be used to repair foundations, roofs and electrical wiring, and make energy efficiency and accessibility improvements. Coupled with funding from Rural Development, the foundation’s effort will make a significant impact in rural New York.

ACTION Inc. in Athens, Ga., has been selected to receive a $30,000 Housing Preservation Grant to help very-low income and low-income elderly households make repairs.

In 2009, Neighborhood Housing Services of the Black Hills, Inc., in Western South Dakota, received a $50,000 Housing Preservation Grant to help 14 families with electrical repairs, roofing and plumbing. These 14 families now have safe, secure housing.

Vilsack noted that today’s announcement is another compelling 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, Vilsack added.


View the list of recipients for Housing Preservation Grants. Each award is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.

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