USDA Launches Relending Program to Reduce Rural Poverty Nationwide
Justin Wilkes (601) 965-4316
Long-Term, Low-Interest Financing Made Available to Community Development Organizations,Guaranteed by Private Lenders and Supplemented by Private Foundation Grants
On October 13, 2016, USDA Rural Development Mississippi State Director Trina N. George will be welcoming Under Secretary for Rural Development Lisa Mensah and Rural Housing Service Administrator Tony Hernandez, as well as Congressman Bennie G. Thompson and staff members from the offices of Senator Thad Cochran and Senator Roger Wicker to the Jefferson County Comprehensive Health Center in Fayette, Mississippi to announce a $40,000,000 million dollar award benefitting the Hope Enterprise Corporation and the Hope Credit Union under the Uplift America initiative.
This program is an innovative partnership with community development organizations from across the country, providing $401 million of Community Facilities program funds to recipients with a track record of successful programs to help reduce poverty in some of the nation’s poorest and most isolated rural communities, and was announced by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in Kentucky earlier this month.
Twenty-six community development organizations have been approved to draw upon the funding to provide long-term, low-interest financing to be “re-lent” to local entities to build, acquire, maintain or renovate essential community facilities, including Mississippi’s own Hope Enterprise Corporation.
The funds also can be used for capacity building and to finance essential community services, such as education, health care and infrastructure. Many of the projects will be in some of the nation’s poorest rural areas, such as communities in the Mississippi Delta. Long-term poverty disproportionately affects rural areas. Nearly nine out of 10 counties where 20 percent or more of the population has lived in poverty for 30 years or more are rural.
USDA expects the financing announced today will serve as a catalyst for additional investment. Many of the community developers already have established relationships with other private and philanthropic funders. The ability to relend money could foster greater leveraging of private and philanthropic investments in rural communities.
USDA Rural Development has a $215 billion loan portfolio and offices in every state in the nation. The agency annually invests $30 billion, on average, in rural communities.
Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has funded nearly 9,200 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; invested nearly $13 billion to start or expand nearly 112,000 rural businesses; helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses. USDA also has invested $31.3 billion in 963 electric projects that have financed more than 185,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines serving 4.6 million rural residents. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/results.
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