Earlier in the month Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, a democrat that serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced he had secured funding for key programs for his state, as well as the nation. According to KTVZ.com, Merkley said:
Trump’s proposed budget was an assault on rural communities’ most basic needs,” adding that the spending bill “was a rejection of Donald Trump’s vision for the direction of America.”
Funding for Rural Housing Service Under the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development agency actually increased by $32.8 million in order to address the affordable housing crisis.
According to the recent spending bill, rural housing assistance grants for very low-income housing repair and rural housing preservation are funded at $33.7 million.
Rural community facilities programs are also funded at $43.78 million, with $2.6 billion secured for direct loans and $148.3 billion for guaranteed loans. According to the agency, priority is given to healthcare, education and public safety projects. Typical projects are hospitals, health clinics, schools, fire houses, community centers, first responder vehicles and equipment and many other community-based initiatives. Applications are accepted year-round, according to the USDA Rural Development website.
The Rural Community Development Initiative also received $4 million to develop the capacity and ability of private, nonprofit community-based housing and community development organizations, low-income rural communities and Federally Recognized Native American Tribes. Grants are to focus on projects that improve housing and community facilities or community and economic development projects.
Additionally, $5.78 million in grants will be made available for facilities in rural communities “with extreme unemployment and severe economic depression.”
Last year, USDA awarded $4.5 million in RCDI grants in May and another $7.6 million in October through RCDI and Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grants. These opportunities are currently closed, but when available, announcements will be posted on Grants.gov.
Merkley also led a request for homeless assistance, under the U.S. Office of Housing & Urban Development, which will be funded at $2.4 billion.