Funding will remove health and safety hazards, make homes more energy efficient
WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA is investing $3.7 million to help rural families repair and rehabilitate their homes. The funds are being awarded through the Housing Preservation Grant (HPG) program in 46 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to support the renovation of 1,147 units.
"Many low-income families in rural areas struggle to afford necessary housing upkeep," Vilsack said. "This USDA program provides grants for repairs not only to ensure that properties are in compliance with health and safety codes, but also to help people lower their maintenance costs through energy efficiency and weatherization improvements. All of these efforts make sure rural folks can live in safe and healthy homes."
USDA provides financing to local governments, public agencies, federally recognized Indian Tribes, non-profit organizations and faith-based and community groups. These entities distribute the grants to individual homeowners as well as to owners of multi-family rental properties or cooperative dwellings who rent to low- and very low-income residents.
In Kentucky, the Housing Development Alliance, Inc. will use a $28,366 grant for two single-family homes in Perry County to reduce overcrowding and make energy efficiency improvements. Perry County is located within the Kentucky Highland Promise Zone. The Promise Zone Initiative is a program created by the Obama administration to help high-poverty areas that have lost middle-class jobs in the last several decades. These communities work with private and public partners to increase economic enterprise, improve educational opportunity, enhance public health and advance the overall well-being of their citizens. The Housing Development Alliance, Inc. will leverage the USDA grant with $25,000 of its own funding.
In Lake County, Calif., Habitat for Humanity will use a $75,000 HPG to help repair 13 homes for low-income and very low-income households. The region was recently devastated by one of California's worst wildfires, destroying nearly 2,000 homes and damaging many more. Lake County is the poorest in the state and received a presidential disaster declaration. Habitat for Humanity is leveraging USDA's grant with $33,000 of its own funds for this project.
In 2012, Celia Cerda, a beloved figure in the city of Crowell, Texas, suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by an old gas water heater. She was rushed to the hospital and did not regain consciousness for two weeks. USDA provided a Housing Preservation grant to Rolling Plains Management Corporation, a local community action agency, to rewire Ms. Cerda's bathroom and replace the defective hot water heater with a new, energy efficient, electric water heater. With the assistance of the grant, Ms. Cerda can safely continue to live in her home.
Through today's announcement, USDA is providing grants for 106 projects in 46 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of their grant agreement.
Since the start of the Obama Administration, USDA has provided almost $47 million in Housing Preservation Grants that have leveraged more than $167 million to repair and rehabilitate 12,000 homes and apartments in rural communities.
President Obama's historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his 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.
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