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USDA announces $1M in grants for Puerto Rico communities

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the availability of $1 million in grants now to assist Puerto Rico communities impacted by presidentially declared disasters.

The announcement was made at the White House, where the agency’s Rural Partner Network representatives gathered, and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack authorized the allocation under the Disaster Assistance Fund to be utilized for assisting qualified intermediary organizations located in Puerto Rico.

The entities will carry out financial and technical assistance to improve housing, community facilities, and economic development projects in RPN’s designated areas. This grant requires an intermediary organization to provide financial or technical assistance to recipients, and in turn recipients provide support to their communities.

“It’s impossible to measure the devasting impact hurricanes have had on people and communities across Puerto Rico, said Vilsack. “For as long as it takes, the Biden-Harris Administration will make every resource available so they can continue to recover and built a brighter future. By working together and identifying flexible funding opportunities, USDA and our partners will support opportunities to help people rebuild their home, businesses, and lives, and are better prepared for the next storm.”

“Today’s announcement is just one way USDA has been partnering with Puerto Rico’s community leaders and organizations to support in the long-term recovery of impacted communities,” he said.

The three RPN Community Networks in Puerto Rico are the Southwest Community Network, the Central Mountain Community Network, and the East Community Network. The 15 municipalities are Mayaguez, Maricao, Guánica, Utuado, Jayuya, Orocovis, Ciales, Villalba, Ponce, Adjuntas, Barranquitas, Coamo, Fajardo, Ceiba, Naguabo and El Yunque National Rainforest.

“Through this opportunity USDA Rural Development Puerto Rico is awarding a maximum grant of $250,000 per intermediary, with the goal of supporting the 15 municipalities that conform the RPN footprint in Puerto Rico by providing capacity-building assistance to improve housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects,” said USDA Rural Development State Director for Puerto Rico Maximilano J. Trujillo-Ortega.

The RPN grants aim to support rural communities within Puerto Rico to access federal funding to address community and economic challenges in areas where a presidential declaration of a major disaster was issued.

This announcement marks the second anniversary since the Biden-Harris Administration launched RPNs — and the first year of launching in Puerto Rico — to ensure people in the historical underserve communities receive their fair share of funding from federal agencies.

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