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Puerto Rico received $392M from USDA Rural Dev’t in ’21

The USDA Rural Development allocated nearly $392 million to Puerto Rico in 2021 “to help ensure that rural residents and businesses have equitable access to housing, health care, economic development, and other essential services,” agency Under Secretary Xochitl Torres-Small announced.

The funding came during the first year of the Biden-Harris administration.

Luis R. García, acting state director for USDA Rural Development in Puerto Rico said some of the investments included in that amount are:

  • $327 million from the Rural Housing Program to help 2,706 families purchase their first homes;
  • $41 million combined in grants from the Community Facilities Program to the municipalities of Juncos and Lajas to repair damage to their landfills caused by Hurricanes Irma and María in 2017;
  • In the Water & Waste Program, a low interest loan was awarded to the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority of $20.9 million and $296,000 grants was awarded to six community’s aqueducts;
  • In the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program, a little more than $1 million in grants were awarded to Las Américas Clinic, Sor Isolina Center and Ana G. Méndez University;
  • In the Community Facilities Program, low interest loans were granted to the municipalities of Dorado ($769,495) and Toa Baja ($3.4 million) for the purchase of security equipment;
  • In the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) $500,457 was awarded to seven business owners so they could lower their operating costs.
  • $610,956 was awarded to nonprofit Entities to provide technical assistance to businesses owners and community leaders in the municipalities of Aguas Buenas, Barceloneta, Cidra, Naguabo, and Vega Baja.

Rural Development awarded more than $2 billion in loans, grants, and loan guarantees in Fiscal Year 2021 for underserved communities and rural communities that have experienced persistent generational poverty.

This includes $1.3 billion for electric infrastructure to utilities that serve communities of persistent poverty, $350 million for the purchase of homes by very-low-income individuals and families living in persistent poverty areas, $48 million to improve water and waste disposal systems in Native American communities, and $9 million to improve community facilities and access to essential services for people living in Appalachian communities, the agency confirmed.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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