22 Alabama counties eligible for USDA grants for rural communities affected by natural disasters
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Tuesday announced that it is newly making $150 million in grants available through the Community Facilities Program to help rural communities continue their recovery from the devastating effects of recent hurricanes, fires and other natural disasters.
USDA Rural Development Alabama State Director Chris Beeker III explained that 22 counties in Alabama are eligible for this assistance.
“The devastation Rural Alabama and Rural America has faced in the recent natural disasters is heartbreaking. These funds will help our rural communities in the recovery process,” Beeker said in a statement.
“When rural America thrives, all of America thrives. Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA stands with the Nation’s rural communities in their long-term recovery following natural disasters,” Beeker added.
This $150 million is included in the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act that President Donald Trump signed into law on June 6.
The grants may be used for relief in areas affected by Hurricanes Michael and Florence; wildfires in 2018; and other natural disasters where the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided a notice declaring a Major Disaster Declaration and assigned a FEMA disaster recovery (DR) number.
View the list of designated communities as of September 8 here.
Eligible Alabama counties are currently Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, Dale, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Geneva, Greene, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Lamar, Lee, Madison, Marion, Mobile, Morgan, St. Clair and Winston.
The FEMA website will be regularly updated with any additional communities that may be added.
Grant applications will be accepted at USDA state offices on a continual basis until funds are exhausted. Grant assistance will be provided on a graduated scale. Smaller communities with the lowest median household income are eligible for a higher proportion of grant funds.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in eligible rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.
For application details and additional information, click here.
The Community Facilities program is in addition to assistance through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) made available through the $3 billion+ federal disaster relief package enacted in June. Agricultural damages from Hurricane Michael and from Tropical Storm Cindy are included in this program.
Sign-ups for disaster relief under WHIP+ begins on Wednesday.
Learn more here.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn