Grants to help rural communities affected by natural disasters

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Kansas, Lynne Hinrichsen, highlighted that USDA is providing $150 million in grants through the agency’s Community Facilities Program. The grants will help rural communities across the country continue their recovery from the devastating effects of natural disasters, which includes hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, straight-line winds, wildfires, landslides and mudslides.

“Throughout Kansas, numerous communities were devastated by natural disasters this year,” Hinrichsen said. “USDA’s Community Facilities Program can help rural communities in their recovery efforts by ensuring they have public services and facilities available to support their residents.”

Hinrichsen’s announcement is in coordination with USDA Rural Development’s Rural Housing Service Administrator Bruce Lammer’s recent statement that $150 million is included in the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act that President Trump signed into law on June 6, 2019. The grants may be used for relief in areas affected by Hurricanes Michael and Florence; wildfires in 2018; and other natural disasters where the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided a notice declaring a Major Disaster Declaration and assigned a FEMA disaster recovery (DR) number. Check the FEMA website for regular updates and names of additional communities that may be added.

Currently, Kansas has 71 counties included in FEMA Major Disaster Declarations: Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Barber, Barton, Bourbon, Brown, Butler, Chase, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Clark, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Comanche, Cowley, Crawford, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Edwards, Elk, Ellsworth, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Gray, Greenwood, Harper, Harvey, Hodgeman, Jefferson, Kingman, Kiowa, Leavenworth, Lincoln, Linn, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Miami, Montgomery, Morris, Nemaha, Neosho, Ness, Osage, Osborne, Ottawa, Pawnee, Phillips, Pottawatomie, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Riley, Rush, Russell, Saline, Smith, Stafford, Sumner, Wabaunsee, Wallace, Washington, Wilson, Woodson and Wyandotte.

More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in eligible rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.

Grant applications will be accepted at USDA Rural Development offices on a continual basis until funds are exhausted. Grant assistance will be provided on a graduated scale; smaller communities with the lowest median household income are eligible for a higher proportion of grant funds. For application details, see page 47477 of the Sept. 10 Federal Register or contact a USDA Rural Development Community Programs Specialist in Kansas:

• David Barber, Hays Office, 785-624-3243, [email protected]

• Michael Billings, Iola Office, 620-380-3109, [email protected]

• Chelsea Morris, Newton Office, 316-282-3474, [email protected]

• Austin Masters, Topeka Office, 785-271-2731, [email protected]

• Sarah Hines, Topeka Office, 785-271-2760, [email protected]

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity. In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic.

About USDA

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/ks.

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