USDA seeks grant applications

Posted May 14, 2012, at 3:59 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that applications for grants are being accepted to provide assistance to low- and very-low-income rural residents to repair their homes.

Grants can be used to weatherize and repair existing structures, install or improve plumbing or provide access to people with disabilities. Housing Preservation Grants, or HPGs, help bring job growth and stability to low-income communities while improving the living conditions of rural Americans.

A recent Maine HPG recipient is Penquis. Penquis, in Bangor, received $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: supplemental funding for the Pathways Out of Poverty Program, gap financing for replacement housing and general home rehabilitation.

USDA Rural Development is offering Housing Preservation Grants to intermediaries such as town or county governments, public agencies, federally recognized Indian Tribes and nonprofit and faith-based organizations. The grants are then distributed to qualified homeowners or owners of multifamily rental properties or cooperative dwellings who rent to low- and very-low-income residents. USDA does not provide funding directly to homeowners under this program.

For fiscal year 2012, USDA may award up to $4.1 million in competitive grants through the Housing Preservation Grant program. Applications are due June 25, 2012.

For information on how to apply, see page 27179 of the May 9, 2012 Federal Register or visit http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-05-09/html/2012-11036.htm.

For information on rural programs, visit a local USDA Rural Development office or http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/me.

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