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USDA Invests To Improve Access To Jobs, Housing

The United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Montana acting state director Jake Ceartin has announced that USDA is investing almost $1.7 million to improve equitable access to jobs, business opportunities, education, housing and health care for people who live and work in Montana’s rural areas.

“USDA Rural Development Montana is pleased to support our federally-recognized tribes, cooperatives and economic development organizations to provide funding which will ultimately be used by nonprofits, local businesses and communities to support affordable housing, growth and education in Montana’s rural areas,” Ceartin said.

In Montana, there are 12 investments that USDA is making in four programs specifically designed to help people and businesses in Montana’s rural areas. These programs include Tribal College Initiative Grants, Rural Community Development Initiative Grants, Housing Preservation Grants, and Socially Disadvantaged Group Grants.

The funding reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development helps rural residents, businesses and communities address economic development, infrastructure and social service needs. They will help low-income people make health and safety repairs to their homes and will help rural business owners get access to capital and business development assistance. They also will help colleges that serve Tribal populations upgrade campus buildings and services.

In Montana, as part of the announcement: One Rural Community Development Initiative grant will be awarded to Lake County Community Development Corporation for $66,480 and another to Beartooth Resource Conservation and Development Area, Inc. for $120,000. These investments may be used to help non-profit housing and community development organizations, low-income rural communities and federally- recognized tribes support housing, community facilities and community and economic development projects in rural areas.

Seven Tribal College Initiative Grants will be awarded to Montana’s federally-recognized tribes, for a total of $1.2 million, to support capital improvements to their educational facilities and to purchase equipment. This funding will assist nearly 28,000 tribal members.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and the Apsaalooke Nation Housing Authority were both awarded Housing Preservation Grants for $50,000 each, to preserve and improve existing Rural Rental Housing and Off-Farm Labor Housing projects in order to extend their affordable use without displacing tenants through increased rents.

The Montana Cooperative Development Center was awarded a Socially Disadvantaged Group Grant for $175,000 to provide technical assistance to socially-disadvantaged groups.

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