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USDA to Give $150 Million to Rural Communities Impacted by Disasters
Kansas Ag Connection - 10/09/2019

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director 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," said Hinrichsen. "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, david.barber@usda.gov

- Michael Billings, Iola Office, (620) 380-3109, michael.billings@usda.gov

- Chelsea Morris, Newton Office, (316) 282-3474,chelsea.morris@usda.gov

- Austin Masters, Topeka Office, (785) 271-2731, austin.masters@usda.gov

- Sarah Hines, Topeka Office, (785) 271-2760, sarah.hines2@usda.gov

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