May 26, 2018
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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announces funding to improve rural housing


BANGOR — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has selected recipients in 50 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for grants to make critical repairs and improve housing conditions for low- and very low-income rural residents.

“Providing safe housing to rural residents is a key to maintaining stable communities and creating jobs,” Vilsack said. “Across America, USDA works in partnership with tribes, community organizations and nonprofit groups to improve living conditions for thousands of rural residents.”

The support Vilsack is announcing today is being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Housing Preservation Grants program. Funds are provided to intermediaries such as town or county governments, public agencies, federally recognized Indian tribes, and nonprofit and faith-based and community organizations. These organizations then distribute the grants to homeowners and owners of multifamily 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 also may be used to weatherize and make homes more energy-efficient.

In Maine, four organizations have been selected to receive a total of $100,167 in Housing Preservation Grants. Those include:

• Penquis, in Bangor, has been selected to receive $25,000 to combine with leveraged funds to assist 17 eligible rural families or individual homeowners in Penobscot, Piscataquis, Knox and Waldo counties in three ways: 1. supplemental funding for the Pathways Out of Poverty Program; 2. Gap Financing for replacement housing; 3. general home rehabilitation.

• Penobscot Indian Nation, Indian Island, Old Town, has been selected to receive $25,000 to combine with leveraged funds to assist the Tribe in providing rehabilitation to the homes of 20 identified eligible families or individual homeowners on Indian Island.

USDA Rural Development state director Virginia Manuel said, “These vital USDA Rural Development funds combined with the efforts and leveraged dollars of our essential community partners will ensure that rural Maine families across the state can make the repairs they need to maintain homeownership and have a quality, safe place in which to live.”

USDA Rural Development has area offices in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston and Scarborough, as well as a state office in Bangor.

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