Investments Will Help More Than 115,000 Individuals in Colorado
DENVER, Colo., Nov. 18, 2021 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the Department is investing $86 million to improve equitable access to jobs, business opportunities, education, housing and health care for people who live and work in rural areas. The investments are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ensure that people living in rural communities have equitable access to the infrastructure and opportunities often taken for granted by people living in urban and suburban areas.
“Regardless of where they live, their race, ethnicity or gender, or the size of the town in which they live, all people must have access to decent housing, clean water and good job opportunities,” Vilsack said. “This is foundational to a healthy society and stable communities. Today’s announcements build on the historic investments made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act signed into law by President Biden to ensure equity during a time when people living in underserved places are suffering the most. These investments will go a long way toward helping America ‘Build Back Better’ toward a just and more equitable society.”
In Colorado, $2,288,278 in investments were made through the Housing Preservation Grant Program and the Water and Waste Disposal Grant Program to assist low-income people make health and safety repairs to their homes and infrastructure improvements.
The Housing Preservation Grant funds awards, which will help 28 rural homeowners repair and/or rehabilitate their homes, include:
- A $50,000 grant for San Luis Valley Housing Coalition in Alamosa;
- A $119,139 grant for Habitat for Humanity of the St. Vrain Valley in Longmont; and
- A $119,139 grant awarded to the Conejos County Housing Authority.
In addition, through the Water and Waste Disposal Grant Program, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe received a $2,000,000 Water and Waste Disposal Grant to replace the pipeline connecting the tribal community of Towaoc to the City of Cortez’s water system. The funding will allow for a high-density polyethylene pipeline to be installed, which is better able to withstand the corrosive soil and will allow for the connection of additional isolation valves to reduce water loss should a break occur. Once complete, this new pipeline will allow the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe to reduce servicing on the existing corrosion protection systems, saving the community money and ensure the community has access to clean water for years to come.
The timing of the award to Ute Mountain Ute Tribe coincides with Native American Heritage Month, which is celebrated every November to highlight the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, contributions, and histories of Native people. It helps raise awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced historically and in the present, and the ways in which Tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.
In total, Vilsack 218 investments that USDA is making in six programs specifically designed to help people and businesses in rural areas. These programs include Tribal College Initiative Grants, Rural Community Development Initiative Grants, Housing Preservation Grants, Delta Health Care Grants, Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grants and Water and Waste Disposal Grants.
A complete list of awards can be found at https://www.rd.usda.gov/sites/default/files/usda_rd_nr_equity_chart.pdf.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/co.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.