$500 million in funds under American Rescue Plan (Keeping the Farm)
(Editor’s note: Terry Rosta is the acting state director for Virginia Rural Development.)
The Biden-Harris Administration recently announced that the USDA is making up to $500 million available in grants to help rural health care facilities, tribes and communities expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, health care services and nutrition assistance.
President Joe Biden’s comprehensive plan to recover the economy and deliver relief to the American people is changing the course of the pandemic and providing immediate relief to millions of households, growing the economy and addressing the stark, intergenerational inequities that have worsened in the wake of COVID-19.
Through the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants, USDA will help rural hospitals and local communities increase access to COVID-19 vaccines and testing, medical supplies, telehealth, and food assistance, and support the construction or renovation of rural health care facilities.
These investments will also help improve the long-term viability of rural health care providers across the nation.
Applicants may now apply for two types of assistance: Recovery Grants and Impact Grants.
The Biden-Harris Administration is making Recovery Grants available to help public bodies, nonprofit organizations and tribes provide immediate COVID-19 relief to support rural hospitals, health care clinics and local communities.
These funds may be used to increase COVID-19 vaccine distribution and telehealth capabilities; purchase medical supplies; replace revenue lost during the pandemic; build and rehabilitate temporary or permanent structures for health care services; support staffing needs for vaccine administration and testing; and support facility and operations expenses associated with food banks and food distribution facilities.
Recovery Grant applications will be accepted on a continual basis until funds are expended.
The administration also is making Impact Grants available to help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and tribes solve regional rural health care problems and build a stronger, more sustainable rural health care system in response to the pandemic.
The USDA encourages applicants to plan and implement strategies to:
• Develop health care systems that offer a blend of behavioral care, primary care and other medical services;
• Support health care as an anchor institution in small communities; and
• Expand telehealth, electronic health data sharing, workforce development, transportation, paramedicine, obstetrics, behavioral health, farmworker health care and cooperative home care.
Impact Grant applications must be submitted to a local USDA Rural Development State Office by 4 p.m., on Oct. 12.
I encourage potential applicants to review the application guide at www.rd.usda.gov/erhc.
USDA Rural Development is prioritizing projects that will support key priorities under the Biden-Harris Administration to help rural America build back better and stronger.
Key priorities include combatting the COVID-19 pandemic; addressing the impacts of climate change; and advancing equity in rural America.
For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/priority-points.
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. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.